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April 19, 2024

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The Woods (Sub Pop)

By: Scott D. Lewis

So much for mellowing with age! Sleater-Kinney, the Northwest?s triumphant trio to post riot grrrl rockers return with The Woods, the band?s most schizophrenic, beautiful and ambitions record to date. Seemingly inspired by the pathetic political climate in the U.S. over the past few years, The Woods doesn?t settle for delivering a series of body-blows as have Sleater-Kinney?s previous albums. No, this one pulls you in by the hair, kisses you long and hard and then knocks your fucking teeth out. A jolting, distorted guitar note threatening to turn into piercing feedback kicks things off to a fitting start. "The Fox" gains strength with thick waves of guitar, Janet Weiss?s stadium-ready drumming and Corin Tucker lets her voice sing, soar and shriek, depending on the din beneath it. Pop appears in many parts of The Woods, such as on the zippy "What?s Mine is Yours," but before it gets too firm a footing, a healthy dose of sonic turmoil arrives to trip it up and set it reeling. "Modern Girl," possibly inspired by Tucker?s other role as a mother, is a folk song at heart, complete with harmonica part, but a rattling snare and sonic sloppiness engulf the tune and take it into Sonic Youth?s experimental territory. "Rollercoaster" has an adventurous, modern-retro garage vibe that keeps pace with all those shaggy guys filling the alt-rock scene while "Lets Call it Love" taps into Led Zeppelin?s swampy, steamy and sexuality and doses it with some good ol? punk rock chaos. The ten-track trek closes with a charming and poetic piece of pop-rock, "Night Light." The Woods is a challenging piece of work from a band over which people are fairly divided and while it probably won?t win Sleater-Kinney any fresh fans, it will reward those willing to listen.

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