Having joined forces in 2013, “the most rugged ones from Jogging, Villagers and No Monster Club” (Ronan Jackson, James Byrne and Bobby Aherne) are in self-professed thrall to The Thermals and The Replacements. That’s Son, Boy and Kid Christmas on the cover of ‘Too Rich For Our Blood’, in the nip with neither mickey nor nose. How do they smell? How do they piss? It doesn’t matter. This isn’t an album for the olfactory senses; no…this is purely for your ears’ delight.
‘Transmissions From The Satellite Heart’ and ‘Clouds Taste Metallic’ era Flaming Lips are huge reference points on the debut album by Women’s Christmas, and the vocals could well be doing a Wayne Coyne impersonation on the opening seconds of Thumbs Up To The World. It’s a notion soon dispelled once the sound fills out after the chiming intro, and the album opens up into a fine, fuzzed mire of lo-fi indie and garage punk.
There’s a noisy chaos of vocals amongst the skins hit and strings scraped on Bubble On A Shelf, and they fight against a thrashing Rope Of Foam, shouting but beaten back. Guitars and drums are to the fore throughout. A quiet/loud dynamic isn’t so much in evidence on this album inasmuch as it’s mostly all loud. If it was though, Weasel Words is where you’d find it. Chalklines meanwhile runs with the same lo-fi drive of Black Kids as the drums propel it into a galloping finale.
Split Lip Service is two minutes of punk layering, sparring and shouting backing vocals, and momentum toying structural shifts. Summer Born, Winter Bred channels Titus Andronicus, while the wonderful Pissing In The Trees does similarly with Flaming Lips as a guitar melody bobs under the vocals and cuts a clear line through the huge fuzz created by the rest.
Surrounded By Clouds is tempered in comparison to the songs that surround it, and With Sea Legs is a bit more pared back in terms of noise. Vocal harmonies complement one another in the ether before syncopated drums lead it languidly home; while melodically lovely, nestled in at the album’s midway point, it remains as scuzzy as the rest.
The shadow of Jogging certainly looms over these tracks, particularly as the vocals fight for dominance on those noisier workouts – it’s never overtly noticeable, though, as Son, Boy and Kid conjure a dense lo-fi mist that holds everything in place within its parameters. ‘Too Rich For Our Blood’ is a riot from that first ringing note. When Decomposition Blues unhooks at the verses to fly loose late in the album, you can only mutter the title of their first EP, where half of these tracks already appeared…tremendous.