» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Flemish Eye

Rating: 7/10 ?

July 3, 2008
Imagine, if you will, being immersed in the sound and space of complete chaos. At one moment you're hurtling through drug-induced hallucinations of white noise, synthesized sounds, and rasping feedback. Moments later you're surrounded by ominous ambient noises. And then, suddenly, you're dropped into the warm embraces of Brian Wilson-esque pop sounds. That's the kind of sonic diversity that we find on Women, the chaotic debut album from the band of the same name, produced by Calgary native and labelmate Chad VanGaalen.

Women is, undoubtedly, a difficult album, one that takes concentration and patience to enjoy. Unfortunately, the variety of styles, and the placement of songs, does not work smoothly together. But many listeners will be reminded of some old friends, including work from the Velvet Underground and Deerhoof, the pop stylings of the 1950s, and noise rock champions like Sonic Youth. There are also traces of the Shins and Aislers Set amongst the sprawling rubble.

The result of this stylistic mish-mash is one of the most eclectic albums that I've encountered in a long while. It's reminiscent of Deerhunter's 2006 effort, Cryptograms, which had frightening moments of brilliance tempered by a manic-depressive mood swing halfway though the album. Women suffers from the same kind of indecision on what, exactly, it wants to be, though here the confusion is at least consistent throughout the album.

Its hodgepodgery aside, there are some fine pieces of work tucked within the album. On "Woodbine," we find Women experimenting with an eerie ambient piece, amounting to what is the album's most enduring effort. "Shaking Hand" is probably the most coherent stand-alone track of the bunch, with its catchy and pop-inspired riffs, and "Upstairs" is the closest thing to a Velvet Underground/horror soundtrack meld that I've heard of late.

One of the significant issues with Women - beyond its insecurities - is that it literally flies by, with the ten combined tracks clocking in at under thirty minutes. The energy inherent in that momentum is often exhilarating throughout most of the album, but the brevity of so many tracks - including four under two minutes each - doesn't allow the effort to gain much traction or develop any intrigue. There's no crescendo here, no real moments for pause of reflection, as everything simply rushes by.

Ultimately there's so many ideas vying for attention on this album that there is not enough room for its songs to breathe. And the discordant styles, some of them on their own of much merit, never truly mesh together. The album is, in many ways, an attempt at a post-modern theater of sound, but there's simply not enough cohesion to allow Women to truly succeed. It's like a dream - perhaps of a trailer for what appears to be an intriguing, spooky film - but it's merely the teaser, not providing nearly enough to enjoy or understand, once you've emerged from the fog.

Reviewed by Eric J. Morgan
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Eric J. Morgan is a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of Colorado. He has an orange cat named Nelson and longs for the day when men and women will again dress in three-piece suits and pretty dresses to indulge in three-martini lunches and afternoon affairs.

See other reviews by Eric J. Morgan



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