You are forgiven for anticipating another piece of evidence of the sucking decline of heroically rock n' roll bands of the 90s. It's never easy to bury the greats, and we've watched a few good ones slide from their holy perch: Dismemberment Plan, Smashing Pumpkins—three cheers for the reanimation effort of Monuments To An Elegy
—and Hole. You can exhale now, Sleater-Kinney
has not gone the way of the 90s: No Cities To Love
is exactly right.
From curtain to curtain No Cities To Love
is precise chaos, comprised of the wretched turmoil of life, and packaged by the capable hands of three of life's vengefully articulate constituents. Without further torturing you with adjectives, allow me to lay it out: the band has not lost an ounce of riotous energy or punk dissidence spirit, Janet Weiss is still a feirce and powerful drum machine, and space and time have failed to sunder the iconic musical twinship between Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker.
I could rest my entire case on the record's first track "Price Tag." The first of 10 torpedo tracks flies towards the harrowing cost of perceived fulfillment. Brownstein wails, "If I could flip the switch, the system fix/I could move us to the top/And numbers roar, it's time to go/But never fast enough," and Tucker seamlessly swoops in with the killing chorus, "We never really checked, we never checked the price tag/When the cost comes in its gonna be high," with Weiss' drums on their punk melody like a heat seeking missile.
The other 9 torpedos stack up with exactly as much fire power as the first. "Surface Envy" is the flame-throwing anthem of united-front friendship. The album's title track is the gaseous inhalant, just light enough to breathe in and pleasantly suffocate on, while "Bury Our Friends" is the hysterical march of the record: "Exhume our idols/Bury our friends/We're wild and weary/But we won't give in." It's pulse speaks to the effortless management of chaos that sets Sleater-Kinney apart from much of the contemporary punk scene. No Cities To Love
is the impressive and logical progression of an institution in the American underground. No more than necessary, and no less than everything.
No Cities To Love
is out now via Sub Pop
. Get your copy here
, and listen to the title track below: