War On Women - Live At Magpie Cage [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

War On Women

Live At Magpie Cage [7-inch] (2018)

Bridge Nine records

                Any punk band that chooses to go the acoustic route, is taking a chance. No matter how talented of a player you are, an acoustic guitar is less forgiving than an electric guitar. That is even truer when you add in distortion and other effect pedals. Simply put, you’re looking at a situation that shows off how much talent a band actually has. On Live at the Magpie Cage, War On Women unplug for an acoustic EP that does just that.

The stripped down version of “Predator In Chief” finds the band as tight as always musically, and Shawna Potter’s voice lacking in none of its power, and opening it up in new ways. In the past, I was never able to pin down who she reminded me of vocally, due simply to how unique her voice is. But, sometimes it helps when you can provide people with a frame of reference. This track really reminds me of Delores O’Riordan by way of Brenda Kahn with just a touch of Tori Amos, albeit with more anger in her voice than either of those two typically had. The best part about this band acoustic, it doesn’t take away from the power of their music. When Shawna Potter sings, “so fuck this fucking rapist, this flag does not make a patriot.” It’s just as powerful as it was just a few short months ago when Capture the Flag was released.

The short strumming on “Silence Is The Gift” gives the song this claustrophobic feeling that works so well it may well improve on the original. The song keeps building until right around a minute and a half mark when Potter sings, “I will never be a quiet woman.” And as I write this, with my phone alerting me about new information in the FBI investigation of Brett Kavanaugh, I’m so glad voices like this are out there. Not just for young women, but hopefully so that young men can hear powerful female voices and be just as inspired by them as they are the males more typically found in most record collections.

This whole EP is a powerful reworking of songs people who already dig War On Women have heard. This release could have benefited from having the rhythm section present in certain areas. It would have given the music a bit more depth to support a very rich and full vocal performance. But, that almost constitutes a personal preference as opposed to a general statement about the quality of the music. Which, by the way, J. Robbins does a fantastic job of capturing every note played and sung here which isn’t surprising given that he’s been around punk music since he’s days playing bass in Government Issue and has recorded everyone from Jawbreaker to Dismemberment Plan to Against Me! and Murder by Death. If acoustic releases are a testament to bands musical abilities in a more stripped down setting, War On Women passes with flying colors. I’d even go so far as to say it would be interesting to hear them work some more acoustic elements into future releases.