Review Summary: "Hold on to it, make you better... You're inside me, I'm your mommy..."
Motivated by female stereotypes and tons of timid rage, Sleater-Kinney breaks out of Washington with their twenty-minute self-titled debut, 'Sleater-Kinney.' An angry, rebellious sound repels some from the genius of this album, while others are attracted to it and wallow in the raw emotion of it all. Danceable rhythms, high-pitched vocals, sexual lyrics ("If you had it in your thighs, you'll see that it feels so nice"), lo-fi guitars and, yes, even some screaming, make this album exquisite in its minimalist self.
This LP captures riot grrrl in its prime -- the rebellious fury of Black Flag, a lo-fi, no wave sound of Sonic Youth and the emotional lyricism of Old Gray create a punk album comparable to no other. It opens up with "Don't Think You Wanna", a stormy track which. "The Day I Went Away" takes a more emotional approach, directing their energy inward, telling of the social norm. These first two songs leave the listener not only craving more, but anticipating what Sleater-Kinney will be capable of on this album.
'Sleater-Kinney', at more times than not, conveys sexual scenes:- "You say go deeper; you like it when I scream, and then you tell me I'm so good." This aesthetic appears on multiple tracks on the album, including "A Real Man", "How to Play Dead", and "Be Yr Mama." However uncomfortable, it was these songs that would grow to define riot grrrl as a genre for the years to come; that is touching on subjects such as feminsm, racism, sexism, rape, and sexuality.
"The Last Song", perhaps Kinney's best song in their discography, concludes the album with an infuriated breakup story, with angst-y screaming and emotive lyrics. It (said track) perfectly defines what Sleater-Kinney is and the vibes they put off. Given all this praise, you'd think that this is a perfect punk album, right" This is far from perfect.
Underdeveloped and under-produced, I lose interest in this LP after a few listens. And even from one listen, one can tell that Sleater-Kinney is not even necessarily SKILLED in a technical sense -- most of the songs are merely a few chords. The singer, though she captures raw emotion well, definitely does not have very much skill. At times, this album sounds as though all songs were written the same day as recorded. Not very many of these one-to-two minute tracks are memorable, either.
All in all, it seems like Sleater-Kinney is quickly trying to hone a mature sound and failing in that, thus creating a slightly rushed punk LP -- rather than create a series of EPs as some good punk groups have done, they have attempted to create something that will boom fast. Kinney does begin to perfect their style into the late 90's and early 00's, but this self-titled debut is more raw and unprocessed, and their later releases show much more maturity. 3.5/5