Thursday, November 26, 2009

Women & Children - S/T (Indoormusic reissue 2009)

The most remarkable thing about the Velvet Underground isn't how many bands have patterned themselves in some way on their music, but how varied and different those bands sound in relation to each other. Women & Children start not from the noisy proto-punk side ofthe Velvets, but from the echoing, reverb-heavy, primitivist take on New York urban folk of songs like "Sunday Morning" and most of the self-titled third album. The group's music is sparse and folk-based, but unlike the loose conglomeration of new folkies around Devendra Banhart, there's less of a sense of childlike naïvete than a deliberately reductive musical philosophy (shared by the Velvets and Women & Children's other clear antecedent, Robert Wyatt) that prefers the stripped-down to the lushly ornate. Women & Children formed in 2001 when California-born guitarist Kevin Lasting and Canadian keyboardist Cheryl June Serwa hooked up in Paris with multi-instrumentalist Jamie Moon and drummer Olivier Robert. Writing all of the band's material collaboratively and switching around vocal and instrumental duties in an egalitarian fashion, the group debuted with a self-titled album in 2003 on the small California label Attacknine, followed by an entirely different self-titled limited-edition release on the British experimental label Hallso, this one consisting of a handsome embossed wooden box containing two 10" vinyl EPs, a DVD of a live performance, and a pamphlet written by a friend of the band. In 2006, Women & Children slimmed down to the core duo of Serwa andLasting and recorded their second proper album, Tonight, for the Narnack label.

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