The band that kept the heart of the riot-grrrl movement alive and beating is back, in a wicked way.
Sleater-Kinney’s “No Cities To Love” burns bright and flames out fast, blazing a trail for other punk outfits to embrace. The album marks the band’s first release since “The Woods” in 2005.
The mood on “No Cities” races from ebullience to negativity to unity to all-out rockfest, as on the victorious “A New Wave” and the rabble-rousing “Surface Envy.”
“No Cities” opens with “Price Tag,” a dark take on the economy’s bruising effect on the lower class.
“With the good jobs gone/ it’s gonna be raw,” guitarist and vocalist Carrie Brownstein wails.
Sleater-Kinney’s explosive dynamics, forged by Brownstein and guitarist/vocalist Corin Tucker, are in turn fueled by Janet Weiss’ drumwork, which shoves the energy forward.
The chorus of “Hey Darling” honors Lita Ford’s glam-metal love song “Kiss Me Deadly,” with vocals seething with sexuality.
“Bury Our Friends” is sonically strong as it laments a life of dread in a “Gilded Age.”
“We’re wild and weary but we won’t give in,” they sing, as they flaunt the scars to prove it.
With “No Cities To Love,” the members of Sleater-Kinney find themselves on the edge as they craft molten rock riffs, brick by brick, molding punk anthems packed with rage and deep-set frustration.
Then they tear it all down.
As the nihilistic “Fade” closes the album, all that’s left standing is the band’s grit, and the dust left by a few withering notes.