Sleater-Kinney – No Cities to Love: “Background Noise”

Artist: Sleater-Kinney

Album: No Cities to Love

Label: Sub Pop

Release Date: January 20, 2015

By: Joseph Kurbanov

This was without question one of the most highly anticipated records of the year and definitely the most highly anticipated of January. Provided you don’t know it already, this is their first album in a decade and that sort of break can throw a band off and massively change their sound.

Now, the band was looking for ways to announce that they’ve come back. The first track absolutely does that; it’s hard, it’s fast, it has great energy to it, and it’s hard not to get into it. It’s not just noise – the melody is as clear as ever and it reaffirms what this trio has always been best at: Making a ton of noise, giving it a great punch, but always concentrating on having a good melody.

The next two songs on the album kind of sound the same and they really melt together but maybe not in the best way. I actually didn’t notice the song had changed and I had to go back and check as I thought it was a weird six minute jam. They don’t really come across as two different songs; in fact, I really didn’t like how those two songs came together.No_Cities_to_Love_cover

Next is the title track, which, compared to the two songs that preceded it, has no way around it. It’s kind of a letdown, it’s a bit boring, it just really never locks in and does whatever the band were trying to do with this song. Also, having all the celebrities in a video doesn’t necessarily make a song a great one. Honestly, that’s just a precursor to what the bulk of the center part of this album is: boring, bland and really doesn’t go anywhere. So many times they’ve gone for edgy or a stripped down sound which just sort of sits there and never gets to a climax.

This is epitomized by the song “Give Me Love” which is an incredibly painful song to listen too. The song sounds artificial and forced to the point that it almost hurts. I almost forget the blatant rip off of Lita ford’s “Kiss Me Deadly” that happens about halfway through this album.

However, the last quarter of this album  matches well with the first few songs, they really lock in well together and then there’s that great energy again. Overall, it turned into background noise in terms of music and vocals.

I really wanted to love this album but it never happened for me. This album was lukewarm at best. Basically, it’s a “borrow it” album for fans and a “bin it” one for non-fans.

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