Album Review

No Cities To Love

No Cities To Love

by Sleater-Kinney

Sub Pop
8 / 10
5th February 2015

Reviewed by Paul Larsen

The reformation of a darling rock act has become somewhat of a mundane event recently. The formula seemingly being a cash-grabbing world tour followed by an acrimoniously recorded filler album and a quiet shuffling back to oblivion. The reunion of riot grrrl pioneers, Sleater-Kinney is a different proposition altogether however. Since they disbanded in 2006, the band has stayed actively creative in music, activism and film (guitarist and vocalist Carrie Brownstein even co-created Portlandia).

Evidently this constant bubbling of creative juices has paid dividends in the creation of new record No Cities To Love. Having lost none of the energy and pace that made them such an important fixture on the Pacific Northwestern grunge and indie landscape, this is a record that barrels along in a strident march of punk-infused indie rock. Right from punchy opener, ‘Price Tag’ (a subtle comment on the attraction and subsequent cost of musical fame), the band is in lock step, as if never having put down their instruments. The interplay between Brownstein and Corin Tucker’s vocals remains a key element in the band sound while drummer Janet Weiss keeps her two bandmates in check with a driven and powerful performance.

Thematically, No Cities to Love orbits themes of the cost of fame finding bright moments in the darkness. Title track, ‘No Cities to Love’ is a great example of this – a story about communities and environments being more important than the brick and mortar that surrounds us. Far from being a paycheck reunion, Sleater-Kinney have stormed back into the indie landscape with one of their best and most welcome efforts yet.

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