Review Summary: The most beautiful noise.
Comeback albums are a motherfu
cker. Think about it. There are years and years of hopes and unrealistic expectations, fans and press wondering if a band's still got it, and a completely bullshi
t idea that if it not only doesn't encapsulate their entire career but fails to reinvent the game for every current act that name drops them on even the longest list of influences that somehow the album is a massive failure. It gives us music writers a lot to talk about, even if it is mostly hot air on our part. So, that leaves us with one question; is Sleater-Kinney's first album since 2005's The Woods
everything that we wanted and more from whom Time Magazine once bestowed the title of “Best Rock and Roll Act” to? The answer is a most resounding, “Duh!”
No Cities To Love
is furious, political, and a god damn delight. Sleater-Kinney pull from every corner of their catalog -- the dissonant riot gurrrl punk of Call the Doctor
, the rock revivalism of The Hot Rock
, the guitar hero status shred of The Woods
– it's all here, and at most times all at once. This virulent coalescing of styles makes No Cities To Love
the band's most brash and technical. There are no ballads. There is no diminutive pop posturing. These are declarative social anthems for post-recession America. Carrie Brownstein's guitar attack pulls from the last two decades of forward thinking musicians; St. Vincent, Hot Snakes, Fugazi. Her leads are dense, angular, and downright abrasive. Even when she throws her audience hooks, they are barbed and deadly. Corin Tucker's authoritative howl is the perfect compliment to Brownstein's playing. In a time when hushed and passive voices have become the expected norm for women in indie rock, Tucker is a full on assault in the best of ways. Their years apart have shown that they can shine on their own, but No Cities To Love
proves that together they still are one of rock music's greatest one-twos.
No Cities To Love
is a triumph. Not only does it meet every one of our over-the-top demands as fans, it serves as a great entry point for those new comers who have yet to be introduced to one of the most important bands of the last quarter century. What more could you possibly want?