User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 8 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 8
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 8
  3. Negative: 0 out of 8

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  1. Oct 2, 2011
    I just recently acquired this awesome record. These guys have definitely nailed the dissonance vs. melody dynamic perfectly here. This type of record is not something that I typically listen to (punk derived rock), but the vocals are well done, the guitar playing is fun and inventive, and the songs are memorable and varied. I can only see myself liking this record more with time
  2. Nov 12, 2010
    This is not just one of the best albums of the year, it is one of the best of the decade. It is beautiful and horrifying in equal measure. If Women come up with a pretty,transcendent melody, they don't just play it- they flog it, push it around, drag it through the mud. I do not like abrasive sounding music, but the songs Women play cannot be imagined in any other form. But forget the whole 'Wow it's a Sonic Assault!' angle, it's the songwriting. Eyesore twists and turns and ambles until it breaks into a run- it's a beautiful, strange song that deserves at least one listen from everyone. Heart Distraction, Locust Valley and Narrow with the hall are the other immediately affecting songs. Pitchfork gave it an 8.0 (pretty low for this kind of a record) and didn't bnm it. A bnm would have really helped these guys get more attention. But they're doing pretty well. Buy the album. It is the best one you'll here this year. Collapse
  3. Oct 5, 2010
    A fantastic album by almost any metric, Public Strain is an engrossing and challenging listen, veering between delicate melodies and dissonant sonic explosions. Women don't obfuscate their source material, but hone in on the most vital elements of their influences and arrange those elements in surprising ways. Familiar sounds subtly veer into unexpected territory, creating a tense but engaging listening experience. The overall effect is menacing, at times disorienting, but ultimately (especially by the last song) rewarding. The band's sense purpose and focus set them far apart from their lo-fi peers. Also, I can't remember the last time I heard a band do so much with such a short run time. Expand

Universal acclaim - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 20
  2. Negative: 1 out of 20
  1. Dec 21, 2010
    The fidelity hasn't improved much from the Calgary foursome's basement-recorded debut, but Public Strain consolidates the clanging drones and subtly hooky flourishes that previously existed only as separate pieces.
  2. Dec 16, 2010
    Women occupy a unique place in the indie rock spectrum. Their songs and makeup can put them nowhere else –- Public Strain would be a Deerhunter album if it weren't for that sneer in its lip- and yet their music is completely singular.
  3. Oct 26, 2010
    This one's also wonderfully textured--distant samples, squeaky kick pedals, rattling snares, the guitars and vocals in a reverb fight, instrument cables in need of soldering....If that sounds like your kind of (fizzle and) pop, you know what to do. [Fall 2010, p.69]