Sleater-Kinney – No Cities to Love – Album Review

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After twelve years and six solo albums, punk rock trio Sleater-Kinney announced a hiatus in 2006 as the band’s members went their separate ways to pursue other projects.  However, late last year it was announced that the group had reformed and was back in the studio, and the hype machine hasn’t stopped since.  No Cities to Love marks Sleater-Kinney’s return to music and their seventh solo album.  It’s a brief, blazing album that brings the punchy guitar riffs and punk spirit of the band’s previous work, much to the delight of fans, old and new.  The album is a welcome return for group, and while the band doesn’t necessarily reinvent themselves, it’s great to hear from a band that has been silent for so long.

The album kicks off with the alt-rock jam “Price Tag”, featuring great guitar work from Carrie Brownstein.  This track, along with the following track “Fangless” feel a bit more like the band’s last album, The Woods, with a much more indie rock style rather than the band’s punk work in the 90s.  However, when the album’s third track, and single, “Surface Envy” roars in, it shows that the band has far from abandoned their original style, but combine all of the great styles the band has played with since their creation.  No Cities to Love is a great mix of punk, indie rock, and alt-rock that feels varied and yet very holistic.

The album’s best track, “Bury Our Friends”, sees the group firing on all cylinders.  Corin Tucker’s vocals are chaotic yet catchy, with Brownstein’s guitar serving as a great compliment to the vocals and Janet Weiss’ drumming giving the track an infectious, punky groove.  The track is followed by the more post-punk sounding “Hey Darling”, which serves as a very bright contrast to the heavy concluding track “Fade”.  The album’s final track is one of it’s best; it’s a very dark, raw finish to a such spirited project.

No Cities to Love incorporates elements from the group’s illustrious career without feeling stuck in the past.  Sleater-Kinney created one of their finest works, an album filled with emotion, savage riffs, and just plain good songwriting.  It will undoubtedly become one of the year’s most talked about albums, both for being a return for the group as well as being an excellent project.

Rating: 8/10

Standout Tracks: “Bury Our Friends”, “Fade”,  “No Cities to Love’

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