It is an inexplicable trend - several remarkable records of the last 1.5 years were released with the image of a chandelier on the cover: Vampire Weekend, Sun Kil Moon and our heroine - Chinawoman. In the last case the choice is surely not accidental: the subject of endless aesthetic disputes that even after a ceremonial takedown is sent to a country house - to live eternally, as an awkward vestige of the past blamed for its uselessness, high power consumption and doubtful beauty, it best reflects the contents of a debut record of Chinawoman - a dreamy girl from Canada, an unsettled singer of Russian origin.
We know so little about Chinawoman, that we have to surmise a lot: the daughter of a ballerina from Odessa (the song “Russian ballerina”, which is the bonus to the Russian edition of the album, narrates about it) found herself in rainy romances collecting all the grief of the world in a gentle fist; the fan of David Lynch; a Dancer in the Dark singing about love which will never come, with intonations of an emigrant from the land which has never existed... Chinawoman is a phenomenon, for obvious reasons not accessible to the western listener. References to her in the foreign media can be counted on the fingers of one hand. But low, almost juvenile voice of Michelle should have been created to hypnotize our compatriots. The illusive pop music is inspired not by the Canadian wave of indie-rock but by the noble music of the eighties, as we would like to remember it.
Trying to find out more is the same as demolishing a sand castle out of curiosity for the ghost that has lodged, able only to bring a lump of coalescent cloud-cuckoo memories to the throat, to waken soul harrowing autumn shadows, to throw into the stale air the dust which has dozed off on a dim chandelier - the witness to the time... Resistance to the charming magic of Chinawoman is in vain, even in the most doubtful moments she doesn’t resemble anyone living and is so remote from the world that one desires to believe recklessly: she exists. "Party Girl" consists of sentimentality half-and-half with sincere suffering, it is a tart drink taken alone, the drama of growing up known to every teenager; the tragedy of losing the self that not every adult is able to admit. Chinawoman has paid for her honesty - even in Canada, a haven of the most improbable music ideas, her art made sense only to a handful of friends and her mum-ballerina. If in the new century the front of independent music has moved to bedrooms, where everyone is an orchestra to himself, then "Party Girl" like no-one else absorbed the twilight and obscure anxiety of the deceptively cozy girl’s room. Chinawoman did not try to build a tempting and foggy world of the feminine in her record (as Liz Harris and other lo-fi sorceresses do); on the contrary, she exposed what is happening around her with an exceptional accuracy: a reality of alienation and the tossing feeling.
Built entirely around the nostalgic sound (a silent synthesizer hum, a cushioned drum-machine, sparse keyboards, annoying guitar plunk, icy synth-pop and warmish post-punk), the debut record of Chinawoman is perhaps a unique example of how the cultural heritage of the previous generations lives inside of us, and one never knows when it will blow up with a dry crack, forcing to sing and play in opposition to the whole world. "Party Girl" is a late "privet" (there is no single Russian word here, but all of them feel vernacular) from the treasury of the true Russian rock; the rock that has soared so high above the Universe, that is, perhaps, not in its right mind. It is a strange music of unearthly beauty.
-Феликс Сандалов of Zvuki, writer for Russian Billboard, Stereo & Audio
-translated from Russian by Oleg Vinogradov and Yulia Korepanov