sleater-kinney make riotous rock comeback
No Cities to Love is an early contender for rock album of the year.
Here's why the all-female trio (Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss) who started out on the 90s riot grrrl scene have totally smashed it with their new album, out today.
1. It's a comeback album that doesn't feel like a comeback album
No Cities to Love is Sleater-Kinney's first album in a decade, recorded by the band in secret at a San Francisco studio last year. But unlike most albums by bands who've been away for a while, this isn't a creatively stilted and aimlessly bloated effort; it's a 32-minute punk rock blast that's tough as a punching bag and lean as an athlete.
2. It has Sleater-Kinney's catchiest tunes ever
No Cities to Love is all bangers, no clangers. Every track has a proper chorus and some pin-sharp musical hooks - from the stuttering beats of Gimme Love to the blistering guitar riffs at the beginning of Bury Our Friends to the unexpected Bowie-esque middle eight on Fade. Surface Envy and No Cities to Love are probably the most instantly infectious tracks, but Hey Darling's melancholy melody will bury deep into your brain too.
3. It's a rock album you can dance to
Obviously this isn't music to be played "in the club". But with its ferocious guitars, thumping drums and thrillingly visceral vocals, it is music that will fill floors at many an indie club night.
4. Sleater-Kinney still have something to say
Album opener Price Tag takes aim at consumerism; Hey Darling sees the trio grapple with "fame's mediocrity"; and title track No Cities to Love is inspired by so-called "atomic tourism" - the growing trend for going on holiday to former nuclear test sites. Meanwhile, the yearning Gimme Love gains additional pathos because the women singing it, Brownstein and Tucker, were once a couple.
5. It's an album driven by the thrill of making amazing music with your creative soul mates
"We win, we lose, only together do we break the rules" goes the awesomely anthemic chorus on Surface Envy. Amen to that.