January 18, 1999
The Hot Rock
The last album, [B]'Dig Me Out'[/B], was the ace but rough-as-a-bear's arse, post-riot grrrl album [B]Huggy Bear[/B] could've made if they hadn't been suicidally stupid ideological arseholes...
8 / 10
So how 'kin ace are Sleater-Kinney, hmmm? Depends on your criteria, innit? Lazily compare them to the monstrous regiment of 'I'm Mad Me!' singer-songwriter womyn who dominate the Yank charts and you'd have to conclude - 'Ooh, no! This simply will not do!' They've got the tunes that make the young boys cry and clever-clever lyrics delivered in the delicious, crazy, Yank 'Momma's Got A Brand New Baglady' wobbly sub-soprano vocals that make male critics go weak at the knees, soft in the head and hard in the groin BUT worrabart the Chad Valley toy-town pocka-pocka drumming and bum-note strewn can't-play-won't-play-punk-rock electric guitar, John? Airbrush, sanitise, cleanse and moisturise Sleater-Kinney and you'd have a shit-hot sure-fire unit-shifting monster of staggering commercial potential. But you wouldn't have Sleater-Kinney. So don't go changing a thing, mad Yank punk rock lasses, we love you just the way you are.
The last album, 'Dig Me Out', was the ace but rough-as-a-bear's arse, post-riot grrrl album Huggy Bear could've made if they hadn't been suicidally stupid ideological arseholes. 'The Hot Rock' is ever so slightly slicker which means - oh joy of joys - that the fascinating death struggle between lo-fi form and hi-fi content is even more sharply defined. "I'm a mess/I'm the worst/But the best that you've heard", warble the Kinney on 'Start Together' - a lyric that could be inscribed on their birth certificates, manifesto and tombstones.
Elsewhere ('Hot Rock', 'The End Of You') the Sleet use mad metaphors for lurve to vengefully monkey boot the living fuck out of inadequate and discarded lovers. "Don't talk to me like you're 19...", they hoot on 'Don't Talk Like', "...you're 35 if you're a day". Ooh err! Then they wrestle The Beast Of Pre-Millennial Tension to the spit'n'sawdust covered floor and give it nuggies with gusto ('God Is A Number', 'Banned From The End Of The World').
But for total lyrical insanity look no further than the utterly insane ex-basher 'Get Up' where the Kinsters blow our tiny little indie-monkey brains out with lyrics that make the Manics, Mansun and Kula Shaker combined sound like Ug, lead grunter with Neolithic proto-punk rock-bashers Ug And The Knuckle Scrapers (ask your grandad).
"And when the body finally starts to go/Let it go all at once... like a bucket of stars/Dumped into the universe/Whoo! Watch it go!". Eat their space dust, supermodel scum! Top folky-punky DIY agit-angst written, made and played by lower-middle class Yank lasses with fingers like bananas and voices like sex itself. Irresistible.
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