Women, Cargo, London

The Canadian four-piece might just be the most perfect indie rock band around at the moment.

Rating: 9

After seeing Women’s performance at Cargo as part of the tour to support the release of their second album ‘Public Strain’, I’m almost convinced that the Canadian four-piece might just be the most perfect indie rock band around at the moment.

Sure, there are a lot of exciting acts on the scene but few have taken a classic rock set up of just a couple of guitars, bass and drums and made something that sounds so fresh and engaging.

Half-way through their set the guy behind me, who has clearly been dragged along by his friends and was skeptical after the first couple of minutes (and slightly confused: “There aren’t any girls in this band!”), turned back and said: “I like this now, because it’s guitars being played loud.”

It’s not just noise though. You can hear Women’s influences – the occasional Beach Boys harmony or strum of Sonic Youth dissonance mixed together to form a kind of lo-fi chamber pop – but none of these sounds are ripped off directly or worn as affectations of cool.

Like Guided By Voices in the 90s, they clearly take inspiration from other bands but are writing songs exactly the way they want to with their own feel, and it works.

Live, the tracks from their new album have a force that is lacking on the recorded versions. That’s not to say that Public Strain isn’t solid record, but I’d certainly prefer having the band set up in my room every time I want to hear it, rather than putting on the CD.

The real highlight is the songs from their debut album. Often bands grow tired of bringing out material they’ve been playing since their first shows and it feels like chore. Women have not reached that stage yet and I hope they never will. They invest all their energy into these songs, and it sounds like they’ve spent time working on them so that they haven’t been left to fester since they were written. And these are taken from an album that even without an update I think is one of the best of the 2000s.

In today’s underground scene with so many bands starting up, it’s easy to be forgotten after the hype from a first album dies down. But Women show the consistency many others lack, delivering quality indie rock across all of their recorded work and on stage.