Sleater-Kinney – No Cities to Love
After a hiatus of ten years, riot grrls Sleater-Kinney return for a taut ten songs, staying just over half an hour.
The band formed in 1994 in Washington (their name derives from the road that one of their early practice spaces was on) and released seven acclaimed albums, before departing with 2005’s The Woods. Respected critic Greil Marcus named them the greatest American rock band in a 2001 edition of Time magazine.
Now they return, much to the excitement of anyone who likes sassy middle-aged punk girls with guitars. Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss have created an album full of itchy, bursting tunes, clattering guitar and deliberately harsh vocals. The vocals may not be to everyone’s taste, but you cannot help but be swept up in the energy. Weiss’ propulsive drumming underpins every song; this is the opposite of the rangy psychedelia that is popular now – no song lasts more than four minutes.
Recorded in studios with names like Electrokitty and Kung Fu Bakery, No Cities to Love feels like it was conceived in a rollerdisco in 80s America, fuelled only by cheap, bottled beer and insolence. The album opens with the anti-consumerist statement of intent, Price Tag. There is the crash and sway of the ironically anthemic No Anthems, telling us with assurance “there is no roadblock I couldn’t unblock, I get around”. It shows more light and shade in Tucker’s vocals with its creeping verse.
There is the musical scuffle of Bury Our Friends with its inventive lyrics: “We speak in circles, we dance in code. Untamed and hungry, on fire and in cold. Exhume our idols and bury our friends, we’re wild and weary but we won’t give in.” Tucker and Brownstein share vocals on this song, though their voices are so similar you cannot immediately differentiate between them.
The left-wing group promote the same sort of raw, sharp feminism that Lena Dunham represents. They have avowed fans in Amy Poehler, feminist comedian, and musical hipster St Vincent. Perhaps this album might inspire the next generation of riot grrls to pick up a guitar. It’s a triumphant comeback.
No Cities to Love was released on 20th January 2015, for further information or to order the album visit here.
Watch the video for Bury Our Friends here: