Sleater-Kinney
The Woods


4.0
excellent

Review

by TheShakes USER (1 Reviews)
August 25th, 2008 | 23 replies


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Cock-rock by the cockless.

There are way too many hyphens in this note. And I'm pretty sure I used "quixotic" wrong. And all my formatting got lost in the copy & paste. And I totally changed tense at some point. And you can't start sentences with "and." I don't care, the ideas are all there.

The Woods - Sleater-Kinney

Oh cock rock, is there anything you can't do? You give pubescent boys the confidence in their pecker to call anyone different from them "gay" while paradoxically allowing these same boys to fawn over Robert Plant's homoerotic-to-the-max moans in "Whole Lotta Love." You made big hair and tight pants acceptable for self-respecting men. You made Steven ***ing Tyler sexy, for Christ's sake! Unfortunately, the one hurdle you were unable to leap is that of intelligent songwriting (probably because you were too busy nailing groupies, right?). So enter Sleater-Kinney, the now-defunct, all cock-less, LGBT-friendly punk trio from Olympia. They were without a doubt the band least likely to make a cock rock album, much less fulfill the genre's quixotic journey to be taken seriously as music. But this is exactly what they did with 2005's The Woods.

Sleater-Kinney had been critical darlings ever since Dig Me Out came out eight years earlier. Dig's mix of bass-less guitar interplay, intertwined vocals, and a recently published article in Spin detailing a brief relationship between band founders Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein made them a band to keep tabs on in underground music. Tucker and Brownstein followed that album up with three more that pretty much followed the exact same formula laid down by Dig Me Out.

The Woods kicked the teeth out of Sleater's formula and found the band fully embracing cock rock. From the feedback-laden riff that opens the album on "The Fox" to the eleven-minute wankfest that is "Let's Call It Love" Sleater largely drops the guitar interplay they thrived on in favor of colossal, pounding riffs. However, that is not to say the band completely abandons their trademark guitar sound, rather the old sound is usually dressed up with some scuzzy fuzz. In fact, an argument could be made that this is SK's most diverse album in terms of guitar sounds. There is, of course, the aforementioned loud-as-*** scuzz-fuzz tone, but there are also washes of noise, clean interplay, and even the bouncy dual-guitar power chord thingie so many indie bands are into today - and those are all in one track (the stunning "What's Mine Is Yours). The Woods marks not only a departure in guitar sounds, but also in drums. Janet Weiss, the band's longtime drummer, was always a solid backbeat for Sleater-Kinney's guitar-driven music, but on this album she has turned into a sheer force of nature, Keith Moon reincarnated, and the Queen of Fills. Hyperbole aside, Weiss clearly realized that the new, more aggressive guitars of Tucker and Brownstein needed more oomph behind them in order to achieve the maximum visceral impact - and oomph Weiss brings (in spades, even!). Musically, The Woods was a step forward for SK, merging their intricate guitar lines with the more muscular sounds of hard rock.

Of course, no proper cock rock album is complete without vocals, and this is where Sleater totally eclipses its heavy metal touchstones on this album. Corin Tucker's voice was always impressive, but here it blows alway anything Zeppelin could ever hope to achieve. It is difficult to describe the exact timbre of her voice, but think of a cross between a female opera singer, a yodeler (in a good way, honest!), and Ann Wilson from Heart. Her voice is so loud I would be willing to bet that she didn't need to be mixed louder than the rest of the band during the final mixing. She oozes sexual confidence on every line she sings and has a range that would put any male vocalist to shame. Of course, as any listener of power metal knows, a powerful voice can be taxing on the listener over the course of an entire album. Thankfully, Sleater-Kinney also boasts an able singer in Carrie Brownstein, who in addition to harmonizing perfectly with Tucker, can easy carry a song in her own right. Brownstein is also an above average screamer, further varying SK's vocal assault.

The Woods is Sleater-Kinney's finest performance, hands down. No other band could have taken a genre so diametrically opposed to their sound and not only made an album in that style, but also incorporated it into their signature sound so seamlessly. [Fanboy Warning:] These girls totally need to get back together.


user ratings (131)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
MusicinaBox
April 8th 2010


513 Comments


The summary is amazing.

Jash
August 23rd 2010


4244 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This review gets the award for using the word "cock" 7 times, that's 6 more times than a review should ever have

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
August 23rd 2010


15052 Comments


i really really really need to check this band out

kcdjn4wwnt29fi
August 23rd 2010


15 Comments


lonely as a cloud in the Golden State

bab808
October 9th 2010


456 Comments


Corin Tucker's voice was always impressive, but here it blows alway anything
Zeppelin could ever hope to achieve

bullshit

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
October 24th 2010


15052 Comments


and i thought "dig me out" was awesome

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
January 28th 2011


15052 Comments


album is decade list material fo sho. amazing and intense

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
June 16th 2011


15052 Comments


SO GOOD

jefflebowski
October 4th 2011


8253 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

gaaah, the production on this is awfully awful.

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
October 4th 2011


50587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's supposed to sound like that

Digging: Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 2

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
October 4th 2011


15052 Comments


kicks ass

i can see the problem with the production but i like it

jefflebowski
October 4th 2011


8253 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah, I know it's supposed to sound like that, but massively clipped sound isn't my favorite thing to listen to.

I should rephrase, I'm not criticizing the quality of the production, just saying I don't like it. I always preferred One Beat and All Hands to this anyway

ThespianLesbian
October 4th 2011


248 Comments


My favorite album ever

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
November 4th 2011


15052 Comments


land ho

Clamface
November 4th 2011


105 Comments


this album is rad

Funeralopolis
May 5th 2013


11601 Comments


is rad

Digging: Black Milk - If There's a Hell Below

Blackbelt54
July 3rd 2013


4276 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Where has this album been my whole life

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
July 3rd 2013


50587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah

Freddey
September 1st 2013


135 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

One of the best, might hand it a 5, but i have to many 5's.

Blackbelt54
September 2nd 2013


4276 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

yeah this album is pretty much perfect, I think it's 5 quality or at least close

your dig is pretty amazing too



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