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Chart Chat Album Review : Sleater-Kinney – ‘No Cities To Love’ (19th January 2015)

Chart Chat Album Review : Sleater-Kinney – ‘No Cities To Love’ (19th January 2015)

During their first reign Sleater Kinney were prolific, releasing a total of seven albums between 1995 and 2005.  Then in 2006 they split up and their story seemed to be over.  Fast forward to 2014 and they reformed to begin working on a new album which this week sees the light of day. There is a real buzz around both this album and their current tour which has seen them sell out a concert at London’s Roundhouse venue. The album is short by modern day standards, containing ten tracks which are all under four minutes, but that doesn’t detract from the end product.  There are no fillers here, and although this is a very 2015 album it is also distinctly Sleater-Kinney too.

Fans who are new to the band could do worse than to check out their career spanning seven disc box set ‘Start Together’ which was released last year. It features remastered versions of their studio albums collected in one place.

The album is released on Sub Pop, the label responsible for signing Nirvana, Mudhoney and Soundgarden amongst others. The label has continued with its punk roots and currently homes acts such as Foals, Fleet Foxes and The Shins. It is fantastic to see such excitement surrounding a release on the label so many years after it first came to the fore of the music scene.

‘Price Tag’ opens proceedings and at 3 minutes 54 seconds it is the longest track featured here.  Dealing with the topic of greed and capitalism, it still packs a big punch with lyrics such as “I was blind by the money / I was numb from the greed / I’ll take God when I’m ready / I’ll choose sin till I leave”. It gets the album off to a blistering start and sets the tone for what lays ahead.

‘Surface Envy’ is an early highlight and was one of two songs made available to download ahead of the albums release.  “We win / we lose / only together” comes the hook, and it’s one of the first tracks that I revisited after my first listen of the album in its entirety.

‘No Cities To Love’ follows closely behind and has been generating internet interest via a celebrity filled video which features them (along with the band themselves) singing along to the track. While I feel this album needs to be viewed as a complete body of work if ever there was a track which could be released as a single then this would be it.

‘Bury Our Friends’ arrived on the album at the end of the writing sessions. It comes with a hook line which will stick inside your head from the first time that you hear it. Lyrics include the lines “Exhume our idols / Bury our friends / We’re wild and weary / But we won’t give in” which displays their determination to deliver. Both Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker share the vocal duties and the results speak for themselves.

‘Fade’ brings the curtain down on the album just over half an hour after it started.  The final lyrics give a pause for thought “tell me what do you see in the last script / yeah its a trip – what’s it all for? / if we are truly dancing our swan song, darling / shake it like never before”.

Let’s hope this isn’t their final word, as after such a strong return there remains a promise that they could deliver yet more. The trio may be older than on their last outing but thankfully that hasn’t impacted their enthusiasm or determination to deliver. ‘No Cities To Love’ is creating a buzz in the music industry and quite rightly so.  A reminder, if it were needed, that the best music can often be found outside of the confines of the singles chart.

Ian Anderson (@ChartChatUK)

24 January, 2015 - Posted by | ChartChat

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