on 11 January 2003
In principle I've got nothing against records that promote causes. It's just that too many "committed" artists are better at hectoring than at writing good tunes. Sleater-Kinney were once known as "riot grrrls" (whether fairly or not, I cannot say), so I approached "One Beat" somewhat warily.
But blow me if my trepidation wasn't turned to vast enjoyment upon first listen: this is so good that it's a strong contender for my record of 2002. There isn't a duff track here. All 12 songs are played with great gusto; there's stylistic variation between indie, new wave, pop, rock, punk, soul and all points in between; excellent interlocking guitar parts; pounding drumming; vocal harmonies (on the Motown-inflected "Step Aside") and unusual lyrical matter (including the true story of a coyote that hopped on board a passenger train in Portland, Oregon). The three band members are technically more than competent, but this is no cold exercise in manual dexterity: they're clearly enjoying what they're doing, and putting all their enthusiasm into it. They obviously possess strong views, but there's nothing unpleasant or oppressive in the lyrics department. This is a band right on top of its game.
Comparisons? It didn't really remind me of anyone, but I reckon it could appeal to fans of Sonic Youth, The Breeders, The Pixies, Pavement, Sebadoh and similar bands.
on 6 September 2002
Sleater-Kinney's latest album is a majestic piece of work that blows the weedy likes of the White Stripes, Hives, Vines etc into oblivion. Carrie, Janet and Corin have made the record they've always threatened to produce. Sharp incisive lyrics and tunes that rock like a maniac.
If you haven't heard it yet then shame on you, if you're debating whether to buy it, debate no more and get your hand in your pocket!