NO WOMEN in WOMEN ?Four guys from Calgary who get serious and make a serious impression
By Alicks Girowski
Women is the band, but unlike their name, there are no women to be seen. Featuring brothers Matt and Pat and high school buddies Chris and Mike Women is made up of four talented gentlemen. So what's the story behind this Calgary 4 piece causing quite the commotion not only in the Canadian scene, but recently in the American scene, with the release of their debut self titled album?
Recorded by friend, label mate and producer extraordinaire Chad Vangaalen, Women is laced with psychedelic pop harmonies of the 60's, eerie echoes that build to a crescendo all glazed with the lo-fi goodness common to Vangaalen's style. Tracks like "Woodbine" make you feel like Women are building to something, anything, and just like that you're thrown into one of my favourite tracks on the album "Black Rice." it's actually this really strange machine our friend took back from India. It sounds awful and it barely works. It's amazing Sounds like that don't come from any studio. The band recorded on various ghetto blasters and out of the studio, in culverts to achieve the records sound. "Fresh air and a change of scenery can really do wonders. Nothing feels better than plugging an amplifier in at the top of an escalator in a southwest Calgary train station and shredding out [Slayer's] "Aggressive Perfector" comments Pat. Not only were unconventional recording spots used throughout this recording, so were unconventional instruments. If you listen closely, the eeriness present on Women is partly due to the instrument of choice in horror movies of the '30s. To the band, however, it's not the theremin that was the most fun to play. "The Indian banjo on "January 8th" is the coolest instrument we got to use on our recording. Some people think that we're using detuned guitars but it's actually this really strange machine our friend took back from India. It sounds awful and it barely works. It's amazing." It's this meandering between intensely quiet parts in some songs to the incredible force of noise that breaks into sugary harmonies that makes Women the band you can listen to over and over.
All this talk of the music on the record, and I haven't heard any commentary on the band's use of the Felix Greene's photo for Women's art work. Greene, a British/American photo journalist in the '60s and '70s was one of the first to capture the happenings in communist countries like China. With the Olympics taking place, I couldn't help but wonder why Women chose the art work they did. "Honestly, I've been obsessed with that picture since I first saw it in a Chinese Medicine book I got from the Public Library" Pat writes. "I cut it out, photocopied it 8 times onto 11" X 17" and had the 8 copies lined up across my living room wall. It was the only thing on the wall and it made me feel great. We are happy about how it looks on the vinyl. We love patriotism and sports, and still failed to realize that the Olympics would be in China when our album was coming out!" Whether they were trying to make a statement with the cover work or not, one thing is absolutely clear, Women have made quite an impact with their music.