I’ve always regarded the genre of psychedelia as campy or misleading. Sure “You’re Gonna Miss Me” by the 13th Floor Elevators has that bizarre puttering sound beneath it, but even stoned out of my mind I would hardly call that sound a psychedelic experience. I just get the feeling hallucinogenic drugs were far too popular when that genre got penned.
Women is four boys from Calgary, Canada with a sound that, to me, more aptly fits the idea of psychedelia. Whether it’s the dreamy bass starved vocals on “Cameras” or the hypnotic pluck and drone of “Sag Harbor Bridge,” Women will make a home in your baked out brain for the deceivingly brief 30 minutes of its debut album.
Women’s debut sounds as though it were on a tiny budget, only able to afford to play on equipment kept in a studio’s storage space. Close enough, the album was recorded in the basement of Chad VanGaalen (notorious figure in Calgary’s local scene) on ghettoblasters and old tape machines.
Women is a soothing blend of rock traditions and current trends. Women manage to open a song in math rock intricacy, build it into an indie stomper and then marry the opposing styles in the end for a soft and fluffy outro. For example, “Upstairs” unravels from a lush poppy tune into a sinister jam. The song plays out like the sudden awareness of a serial killer with a giant hunting knife lurking in an upstairs bedroom as you trudge up the stairs. The ominous sound manifests from the bass at the two minute mark; as it lowers an octave drowning the ambiance in the midst of a black song.
The reluctance toward relying on synth-keyboards, drum machines and samplers, which most avant garde rockers tend to incorporate, strengthens Women's timelessness. Women may stumble on an upright bass or a violin, but tends to stick with drums, guitars and effects pedals. By avoiding the technology available, Women achieve a timeless sound that can beg the question of whether it was recorded in 2008 or 1968. It’s psychedelic, arty and surf rock enough to be homage to the past, or to actually come from the past.