It’s been a long decade since Sleater-Kinney’s last record “The Woods,” a tour-de-force that seemed to signal a volcanic new era for the band. Instead, they went on hiatus, its members gravitated to to other things (Carrie Brownstein went to hit comedy “Portlandia” as well as Wild Flag with drummer Janet Weiss, while Corin Tucker became a mom again and launched a solo career).
Now, the riot grrl pioneers are back with a new record “No Cities to Love,” an album that was announced out of freaking nowhere end of last year. There always is added anxiety and expectations with a comeback record of this magnitude, but “No Cities” is an utter triumph, an album that’s as good as anything they ever released. It’s a 32-minute scorcher that hits on all cylinders, a rock record the world needs right now with everything so safe and sanitized.
They light and agitate fires from opener “Price Tags” that pokes at the rough sores of people struggling through a volatile economy; great “A New Wave,” the only Brownstein-sung song, that spits power; the fist-pumping title cut; buzzing, agitated “No Anthems”; and great, Led Zep-style first single “Bury Our Friends.” Sleater-Kinney sound as vital, passionate, and hungry as ever, and their fans will benefit from that fire as much as the band itself. (Brian Krasman)