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City Of Women


New album by Paul Marotta & crew. Orginally formed in 1975 and part of the crucial Cleveland underground -- The Styrenes continue when they need to. These 2006 recordings feature new songs plus a cover of the Electric Eels all-time classic "Agitated". "Hard, rough, mean, unwashed, and slightly verminous; with bad breath and nicotine teeth, City Of Women is the kind of rock record we haven't heard in a long time. The buzzsaw guitar snips away at the body of a song, nagging and spitting, and the next minute it's a tiny little melody that's neat as a pin. Bass and drums swoop and rumble, the vocals are broken, like they've got screws in their jaws. The Eric Burdon and the Animals' classic 'When I Was Young' is hardly recognizable, engaging and expressive, while dispensing with the romantic veneer of the original. 'Agitated' is a malicious bark. 'I Wish I Was High All The Time' is pure fed-up-with-life, and 'Mr. Handsome' is that really unpleasant guy -- a fatal attraction -- the one we all have to encounter sooner or later. The Styrenes' knack for turning most anything into pure and straight energy keeps this cozy little trip from going straight to hell. These guys aren't youngsters and there's enough experience between them to create what might seem like an impossible blend of urban rock song, art-wave/art-punk, maybe even some glam, in a consistent, consciously artistic manner. The concept is simple -- sophisticated music with punk energy. No beer-filled sports fans chanting, no pseudo-provocative nostalgia, no post-punk jigs. But something complex and truthful, something both thought-provoking and visceral. And then, just when you think you've got it, the album takes another left turn. This City Of Women may not be an affable place, but it sure is alive."