- Hot Rock
the post apocalyptic world of late '90s rock and roll, bands
that still believe in the redeeming graces of crunching guitar
chords, blood-curdling vocals and a 'fuck you' attitude are
few and far between.
are holdouts, and Sleater-Kinney is quite possibly the best
of the bunch.
band of guitar wielding Ted Kaczynskis, this female trio from
Portland, Oregon, survived the North-west's great grunge movement
with a pair of gritty independent releases - 1996's Call
The Doctor and 1998's Dig Me Out - that generated
plenty of critical buzz and set fans of raw rock ablaze.
its third full length release, The Hot Rock, Sleater-Kinney
seems primed to take its hard-driving brand of punk-pop to
a national audience. Too bad the album doesn't quite live
up those lofty standards. Unlike Dig Me Out - easily
one of the best rock albums of the last few years - which
showcased the band's penchant for shotgun blasts of staccato
rhythms and quirky harmonies, Hot Rock goes for a more
sub-three minute shots of sugar sprinkled punk rock are substituted
for meandering songs that hunt and peck around greatness,
but never seem to find their mark. Standout
tracks like "Start Together", "God is a Number"
and the bouncy "Get Up" are overshadowed by numbing
numbers like "The Size of our Love", "Don't
Talk Like" and "Burns Don't Freeze".
Corin Tucker's vocals reach wonderfully quivering heights
and the churning engine room of Carrie Brownstein and Janet
Weiss seem up to the challenge, but by the end of the album
you're left wondering just where they've taking you and why
you agreed to tag along. At least they're trying to evolve
- something many of their now-extinct brothers and sisters
from the Northwest refused to do. Besides, after two post-grunge
classics, it's probably safe to give Sleater-Kinney the benefit
of the doubt.
say in Hot Rock's "Banned from the End of the
World", they plan on sticking around until the bitter
end: "The future is here, look in the mirror / We're the band
from the end of the world"