Allegedly recorded on boomboxes, gathering in garage pop, tape loops, lo-fi folk and chiming math-rock, the eponymous debut from Calgary quartet Women is an unpredictable and untotalizable mess. Casual listeners drawn in by minor blog hit "Black Rice" will find nothing to compare to it on the record; the catchy track is sandwiched between three minutes of drone and noise and a variation on a seesawing odd-time guitar riff.
In turn, neither of these much resembles the song before or after it. After less than a half-hour, Women peters out in the stumbling noise of "Flashlights," which yields to a coda of delicate guitar delay, an abstruse ending to a confusing and opaque record.
And yet, paradoxically, Women
has both economy and beauty. The record's diversity is the result of the band's ability to find the fundamental kernel of each approach and move on, satisfied with having made one true statement. This strategy yields sparkling, multivarious gems in "Rice," the half-unplugged psychedelia of "Group Transport Hall" and the driving guitar noodles of "Shaking Hand," which culminate in a humbly glorious circular arpeggio.
Though it can recall anything from the Velvet Underground and Wire to Sebadoh and Thinking Fellers Union to the Black Dice, Women
is the work of real individuals, and in its quixotic experiments lie the very soul of indie rock.
With Crystal Stilts and Chase Hamblin, 9 p.m. tonight at Rudyard's, 2010 Waugh, 713-521-0521 or rudyards.s425.sureserver.com.