If you listen to extreme music, then you live and breathe for the moments that you only find every so often that only extreme music can provide. That moment where a record just totally blindsides you. Most records are the emotional equivalent of being gently prodded as you get by someone trying to look through your head at a gig or cinema screen (chart music is the emotional equivalent of someone repeatedly poking the back of your head after you have politely but insistently asked them to stop); on a good day you’ll find something that hits you like a burly man whose pint you just spilled; but if you follow extreme music you live for the moment when you are hit by the emotional equivalent of an intercity train. A raw emotional gut-punch that tears your expectations apart like a forest of Scots pines in the wake of a plane crash. It happens more and more infrequently as you immerse yourself in music but it’s the kind of Rosetta stone zero-sum moment that resets all the dials and reminds you: yes, the music of today is even more banal than that of yesteryear, you aren’t becoming emotionally numb. A real and genuine expression of what music can do can be found on Little Women’s debut full length album, Throat. I can describe what it sounds like here, and I will, and I can describe what it does to me, and I will. But trying to describe this music using words more than any other album is the hypothetical equivalent of hitting a bullet, with another bullet fired side-on from a speeding train. I sure hope I nail it. We’ll see.
The music hangs delicately in the balance between total chaos and perfectly controlled hyperspeed math-jazz. It’s the kind of heart-mind-and-soul splattered onto the canvass music making that makes you wonder what you see in all those other bands. It’s also the perfect record to separate the casual listeners from the genuine psychonauts; sending the former running like small woodland mammals from napalm lest something as frightening as a new thought breach their remarkably resiliently thick skulls. Sound wise? Think Meshuggah as covered by Miles Davis, with all the merciless pace and volume of the former and none of the compositional constraints of the latter. I’d describe the main thrust of the music as sharp violent flurries of horns backed up by a razors-edge guitar and drum hits that feel more like shards of glass if that didn’t do a disservice to how much of an aural abuse this album can be on first listen. For a full and frank appraisal, I hand over to Weasel Walter of the Flying Luttenbachers because, well, because he’s smarter than me. – “The group is alarmingly full sounding despite their bass-less twin-saxophones, guitar and drums line-up because what we hear is not only the voices of the separate instruments, but the chaotic beating of difference tones created by aggressively manipulated microtonal intonation. To some this will be an annoyance – it creates a strong physiological sensation of panic, not unlike screaming babies or speeding ambulances! To some of us, it’s a conjuration of something beyond what can be heard or seen – Little Women create a jarring form of music inhabited by ghosts. Fucked up, weird, frantic ghosts. If you wake up screaming in the middle of the night after listening to their music, I’d call it a success.” And panic surely is created. The level of shrieking hysteria reached at points on this record stretches the listenability for even the most open minded (and open eared) listener. A definite and tangible encouragement to run is felt. This music really does touch something primal inside the human mind. In the cinema world, films that provoke a physical response are often looked down upon (such as crying) but in the music world a genuine physical response is so rare it almost makes this record listening to without it also being an example of genre-fucking game-changing musical artistry that you forget at your peril. The tangible sensations in your flesh at listening to this beautiful chaotic madness is nothing compared to the effect live shows have on the musicians, exhibiting after-effects one would normally notice from prescription medicine to be kept out of the reach of children; band members have documented headaches, nosebleeds, nausea and even internal bleeding.
What it inspires in me? It makes me want to go back to all the dark times when I’ve woefully looked over the charts in the vague hope there’ll be some guitar-centric heads in the top fifteen and turned up empty and give the record to myself and say “nope, it’s the music that’s crap, you haven’t just died”; or for every single Beyonce-interspersed-with-Oasis marathon next to the student union jukebox wanting to rip off my eyelids and crush them up into earplugs. I’d take it back in time before I was born and ensure that mainstream heads looking for a fix were spinning Little Women records and wearing Throat tees and music that is this revolutionary could have a fair chance of being found and heard by everyone in the world.
If you only do one thing today; [Edit] PURCHASE and listen to Little Women’s Throat [Because if you don't pay for this shit, it goes away and the world dies a little]. An epic piece of razor-crafted lightning thrown right at the feet of an uncaring and undeserving idiot public not capable of accepting the kind of hyperspatial genius capable of constructing something so visceral. In any decent and correct world, Little Women would have their own section in every record shop, but we live in a shitty world so here we are.
Written under duress by Steven.