No Cities to Love

Don’t call it a comeback or a reunion record. Sure, No Cities to Love is the first Sleater-Kinney album since 2005’s The Woods, and the first we’ve heard from the band since its quiet hiatus announcement in 2006. But Corin Tucker (guitar/vocals), Carrie Brownstein (guitar/vocals), and Janet Weiss (drums) don’t want their new album to be seen as some sort of calculated grab for attention. In their defense, No Cities to Love refuses to cling to any of the rock-reunion clichés. Rather than try and re-create the classic rock vibe of The Woods, or the punk-pop appeal of 2000’s All Hands on the Bad One, Cities finds the trio pushing forward in new, exciting directions. There are moments of pure sing-along abandon (“No Cities to Love”), grinding punk fury (“Bury Our Friends”), and bombastic ’80s arena rock (“Fade”), as well as production that feels crisper, cleaner, and meatier than anything they’ve done in the past. Most importantly, though, No Cities beautifully showcases Tucker, Brownstein, and Weiss flexing the rock ’n’ roll muscles we’ve known them to have all along. From the opening seconds of lead track “Price Tag,” Tucker’s voice demands you stand at attention; “Surface Envy” features some of Weiss’s most complex, beastly drum work yet; and Brownstein, widely known for her fun-loving approach to guitar, turns in some of the more impressive licks of her career. In other words, Sleater-Kinney fans, it was worth the wait.

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