Little Women set out to collectively write a suite that’s at once as tight as great metal and as sonically adventurous as the mind can possibly comprehend. Not only do they do it, but they set the bar insanely high for anyone wishing to do the same.
(AUM Fidelity, April 2010)
Little Women can do whatever they want. They tell me to turn the volume up as loud as possible and I do it (their exact words: “Elevated volume on playback increases overtone quotient and rewards justly.”). They see genre boundaries and completely disregard them. They set out to collectively write a suite that’s at once as tight as great metal and as sonically adventurous as the mind can possibly comprehend. Not only do they do it, but they set the bar insanely high for anyone wishing to do the same.
Throat is Little Women’s first full-length album. It’s a follow-up to their 2008 EP Teeth, but more recently follows alto saxophonist, Virginia native, and former VCU student Darius Jones’s Man’ish Boy.
The bag that Little Women pulls from is not endless. Their vision is focused. There is a lot going on here by way of metal, free jazz, and noise, but it’s all guided by clear compositions and group trust. The four men are in touch with not only the extended techniques possible on their own instrument, but also how it can function within the group and along with the other instruments’ techniques. Fluidity and subtlety on their instruments, even in the rawest and most vicious of exchanges, is always there. In the intense first movement and throughout the album, Laplante and Jones multiply their already huge sounds by playing, squealing, and overtoning in harmony.
Listen to “Throat IV”:[audio:
http://rvanews.net/sounds/Jazz/04%20Throat%20IV.mp3|titles=Throat IV|artists=Little Women]
As the lengths of the seven movements form a parabola, a lot happens in the fourth and longest movement of Throat. Jones plays a folky and hymn-like melody reminiscent of his own Ayler-esque Man’ish Boy. Laplante accompanies with shaky harmonies and blowed overtones, providing an uneasiness that prevails until Nazary and Smiley enter with slow but moving rock. From there, the band goes into several different themes that a summary would only complicate.
My ears ring, but it was worth it.
Track list: Throat I-VII.
Personnel: Travis Laplante, tenor saxophone; Darius Jones, alto saxophone; Andrew Smiley, guitar; Jason Nazary, drums.