These riot grrrls have never really complied to a standard when it comes to lyrics or style. Just listen to Sleater-Kinney, the band’s first record with crazy, outgoing vocals from Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein similar to Poly Styrene from X-Ray Spex or Kathleen Hanna from Bikini Kill. Meanwhile, guitar riffs scrape through with intensity and roughness, pushing through with a 90s underground sound akin to Sonic Youth’s alternative rock. All the while adding in Janet Weiss to round out the trio with drumming that blended perfectly into the mix.The band kept with this mixture of punk and indie rock, releasing albums that criticised the political and social inequality of women with feminist ideals.
The record before No Cities to Love, The Woods (2005) (their last album before their hiatus) was wrought with emotion and solidity, a perfect foreshadow to No Cities to Love.
Which brings us to No Cities to Love, a record that perfectly sums up the band’s music career but doesn’t exactly sound like The Woods. Filled with the emotion of a young 90s punk band but adding in riffs that are similar to a modern indie group, tracks like, ‘Price Tag, ‘Fangless’, and ‘No Anthems’ show the growth that the band has undergone since their self titled 1995 record. Tucker and Brownstein’s voices keep the same life that has stayed constant throughout all of their records. Weiss’ drumming (especially on the second track, ‘Fangless’) compliments the band’s zaniness. Together these girls take political stances against capitalism and fame with grit and an unapologetic attitude.
The title track, ‘No Cities to Love’ is a perfect example of how far the band has come. The video features Sleater-Kinney’s friends who also happen to be well known artists including Gerard Way, Fred Armisen, and Ellen Page.
Whether you choose to listen to this version or the album’s, you can’t go wrong. Both are equally awesome. Even musician St. Vincent is a fan, telling Rolling Stone that No Cities to Love is “a crowning jewel in their legacy”.
The legendary punk trio’s record delivers an intense return that prevails stylistically and confidently. Though, honestly, would you expect anything less from Sleater-Kinney?
Review by Jaylene Lopez | @jyuackinsocray