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Universal acclaim - based on 20 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 8 Ratings

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  • Summary: The second album for the indie Canadian quartet was produced by Chad VanGaalen.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 20
  2. Negative: 1 out of 20
  1. 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.
  2. Sounds come and go but the inspiration and wherewithal to realize your own goal in tone is paramount. Women seem to know exactly what they stand for and in presenting it they've entirely outdone themselves, again.
  3. In short, it's a triumph. Yes, it's still messy, and yes, Patrick Flegel's apathetic nasal vocals are too saturated, or buried in the mix, or both, but the intricate musicianship and songwriting take this from "yet another lo-fi garage album" to mini masterpiece.
  4. The emotional impact of this music is sometimes disorientating or alienating, but that is probably the intention. It's mostly impossible to discern the lyrics or comprehend their themes. Somehow this doesn't matter, given the striking, weird and often turbulent music beneath.
  5. 80
    Never willfully ramshackle or unfocused, Women tread the line between discord and delight with deceptive style. [Sep 2010, p.96]
  6. At the surface, the temperature is icy. But like a cold lake's waters, the music of Public Strain becomes less drastic; comforting even, given time.
  7. At its weakest, the album is merely boring with the lamely typical Can't You See, an album opener of distorted rumbling and vocals so low you'd strain to make them out. Arguably worse than a bland track is that the album actually offers some hope for a reasonably enjoyable experience.

See all 20 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. 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. Expand
  2. 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
  3. 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 Collapse