The Center Won’t Hold

Sleater-Kinney

Mom + Pop, 2019

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/05/2019

This is a quite different Sleater-Kinney than the one fans have grown used to. From the first beats of the title track, you feel like you’re in a St. Vincent record, and that’s not what you want from Sleater-Kinney. You get a different sort of rock record, not one from a pioneering female trio, but one that feature the band playing with machines and overdubbing guitars atop them. The differences in the band’s sound, amongst other things have resulted in their dynamic, powerhouse drummer Janet Weiss announcing her departure just before this album was released.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The voices of Carrie and Corin are still omnipresent but the music is like bad post-punk new wave mix from the eighties. “Reach Out” is just obnoxious and doesn’t go anywhere and is one of the weakest tracks here. “Can I Go On” sounds good, but poppier than the best Sleater we’ve heard before. Some would say the presence of St. Vincent behind the scenes might have been too much of a push on the band as their best material was generally handled by John Goodmanson, who was perfectly suited to handle everything the band was coming with.

“Restless” is bland and not very appealing, especially considering what this band is usually more than capable of, while “RUINS” feels like it tailormade for radio airplay, but is another one of the songs that just doesn’t go anywhere or do anything exciting for the ears. By contrast, “The Future is Here” is one of the most exciting tracks here as it sounds more like old school Sleater that fans have always enjoyed -- definitely one of the few interesting tracks that I found.

“The Dog/The Body” is a boring new wave track that sounds like it would be at home on a St. Vincent record, for sure. The closing track, “Broken” is a straight up piano torch ballad that at first is a bit odd, but ends up being really appealing and interesting. Unfortunately, what we have here is more of a St. Vincent album than a true Sleater disc, and that might be one of the biggest disappointments of the year.

Rating: C

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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