TUE, AUG 8, 2006 at 11:24 AM


Here’s an excerpt of what they say: “The three years that have passed since Sleater-Kinney released their last album, 2002’s One Beat, have not been happy ones: between the war in Iraq, the re-election of President Bush, and the appointment of a torture-condoning Attorney General, Americans have plenty to complain about. Nonetheless, as Sleater-Kinney noted on One Beat’s “Combat Rock,” dissent within the music industry seems minimal, as listeners seem to prefer blinged-out rappers and faux-punk suburbanites to anything vaguely political. One Beat’s call to dissent seems to have fallen on deaf ears, and its successor, the tellingly-titled The Woods is rife with frustration and rage. It also happens to be a musical tour-de-force, and probably Sleater-Kinney’s best album to date.The Woods is, appropriately enough, the densest and deepest work in Sleater-Kinney’s discography. If it lacks the immediate appeal and accessibility of One Beat or All Hands on the Bad One, it feels more mature and meaningful than either. Tucker, Brownstein and Weiss reach their peak here as performers and songwriters, and Fridmann’s production provides a sense of warmth and spontaneity unequalled by their earlier work. While it may be tinged with pessimism and negativity, The Woods is ultimately an exhilaratingly positive listen; it’s full of the passion, sincerity, and creativity that no Franz Ferdinand or White Stripes, let alone a Britney or an Avril, could ever fabricate. Most importantly of all, it serves as a giant “fuck you” to mainstream culture by showing it precisely what it lacks, proving that even amidst bullshit commercialism and superficial trends, great rock music still exists.—Michael Cramer”

Posted by Harry Dean Hudson