Review: Sleater Kinney – No Cities To Love

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Sleater Kinney are back and as badass as ever with their first record since 2005.

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After nine years on an indefinite hiatus, Sleater Kinney are back and as badass as ever with their first record since 2005. No Cities To Love has nothing to prove but all to play for with an audience of new ears who might not have even heard of the band. It is a shame that a lot of young people today wouldn’t have ever come across Sleater Kinney’s extensive back catalogue – seven records, all of which have been recently remastered – but can three women, now in their 40s still provide the youthful urgency that punk requires? The answer, a resounding hell yes. Sleater Kinney have an opportunity to inspire this new generation and gain a whole host of new fans, and although they are older, they haven’t lost their hunger and passion for the music and the messages they create. With their style of ruthless punk rock, they might just be able to tap into this generation of young people with the messages they desperately want to hear.

The title track on the record is accompanied by a fantastic music video that went viral the moment it was released. Featuring celebrities such as Gerard Way, Natasha Lyonne (Nicky from Orange Is The New Black), Ellen Page, Sarah Silverman and Andy Samberg to name a few. Its moments like this when you realise the extent of their influence in the music scene of the last twenty years – much loved by the public and celebrities alike. ‘No Cities To Love’ is a classic rock’n’roll song, simple yet incredibly infectious that it leaves you singing along, hairbrush in hand, just like the celebrities in the music video.

Empathy is the fuel behind Sleater Kinney’s passion with this running through the veins of the album, and all of their music in fact. Album opener ‘Price Tag’ is a great example of how they make songs about real problems, for real people. The track is a comment on 21st Century financial insecurity, which could soon be met with the groans that Russell Brand’s form of revolution seems to emit from the public. However, the way Sleater Kinney do it, makes them faces in the crowd of angry people with tracks oozing with the emotion that is at the core of their message. They ignite anger and passion at everything that is wrong with the world, but also give people hope for the future. As a line in the track ‘Bury Our Friends’ suggests: “We’re wild and weary but we won’t give in.”

The record as a whole is more polished than their trademark DIY, rough around the edges sound, however, this doesn’t take away the prominence of Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein’s rough and jaded vocals, along with Janet Weiss’ signature thrashing on the kit that we all know and love. No Cities To Love is Sleater-Kinney’s most accessible album that channels their love of new wave pop with choruses that rocket through the sky. It sure is surprising that a radical DIY punk band such as Sleater Kinney could grow and remain relevant, and yet with this much dignity. These three women are the poster girls of punk, back to inspire the next generation of riot grrls.

No Cities to Love is out now via Tiny Telephone Recordings.

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About Author

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I’m Megan Downing, an English Literature graduate from University of Southampton. I am the Music, Arts and Culture Editor for The National Student. I am the Membership and Communications Officer for the Student Publication Association, I write about music for 7BitArcade, and contribute regularly to The Culture Trip. I have a passion for live music and this is where I began in student journalism. Reviewing a gig or festival is still where my heart lies four years on. I will be starting at MTV as a News Intern in June 2015. One thing you should know about me is that I have an unhealthy obsession with Kevin Spacey.

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