‘No Cities to Love’ album review

Sleater-Kinney releases first album in 10 years

Ellery Lloyd, Staff Reporter
Originally published February 27, 2015

“No Cities to Love” is the first album Sleater-Kinney has put out in ten years.

Punk band Sleater-Kinney was formed in 1996 by singer and guitarist Corin Tucker and lead guitarist Carrie Brownstein. Ten years after they released “The Woods,” in 2005, Sleater-Kinney has released a new album, “No Cities to Love.” The Olympia based punk band has its roots in the 1990s era riot grrrl scene. The group went through a succession of drummers, landing on Janet Weiss for its most recent projects. Sleater-Kinney performed until 2006 when the group announced a hiatus and its members went on to do solo projects. One such project includes the satirical comedy “Portlandia,” starring Fred Armisen and guitarist, Brownstein.

“No Cities to Love” stays true to an alternative punk sound. The opening track, “Price Tag,” takes a simple structure, and layers guitar riffs into a catchy melody, while the lyrics touch on the reality of the post-recession American economy for a working class family.

Lyrics like; “the kids are starving they reach for the good stuff.” The title track, “No Cities to Love,” channels quirky lyrics into a catchy tune filled with almost bluesy guitar interludes. The next song, “A New Wave” seems to take inspiration from a Jimi Hendrix style of acid rock, playing with effects to create a murky kind of up-tempo riff.

The album shows the intensity and range of lead singer Corin Tucker’s voice, accompanied by guitar tracks, and occasional vocal harmonies. This along with Brownstein’s unique guitar playing style, is a key feature of their sound. The second track, “Fangless,” highlights drummer Janet Weiss, opening with heavy drums and growing into a song that really shows off Tucker’s unique voice. Tucker has made some stylistic choices with the band, generally tuning the lowest string of her guitar to a C-sharp instead of the usual E, it shifts the way she uses her voice so that she is using the highest part of her range.

“No Cities to Love” may be a reunion of sorts, but it’s in no way awkward or unfamiliar. The group has changed since their 2005 album “The Woods.” The last album before their nine year hiatus has more of an indie rock feel, and has a stronger classic rock influence, while this 2015 release shows off the ways they have evolved to become a band built on mainly punk.

“No Cities to Love” is a delightful new installment from a band that changes directions after their last release, bringing along with them some of those old magnetic sounds Sleater-Kinney’s been trail-blazing since 1996.