It’s the way in which Women’s sophomore album bursts alive with a chaotic stream of discordant noise, fully intent on grabbing attention at the first given opportunity, that serves as an instant warning that what follows is going to be far from an easy listen. What ensues is a mood-altering eleven-track lesson in Velvet Underground-referencing, avant-garde experimentalism, and it’s due to this arduous nature that ‘Public Strain’ requires heavy concentration and repeated listening before the magnitude of both its complexity and sonical scope can be fully absorbed. Beneath the heavy, upper layers of pretension and atonal feedback that poignantly crust this record, lies a thinner slab of almost traditional Sixties song-writing craft that binds it all together and stops ‘Public Strain’ from falling into being a disorganised mess.

By Nathan Westley

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