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One Beat (Limited Edition)
     

One Beat (Limited Edition)

by Sleater-Kinney
 

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Sleater-Kinney have forged an alarmingly dense sound from a potentially single-missioned weapon -- punk rock. While the hip-shaking sixth album from this northwestern juggernaut might conjure images of an edgier Beach Blanket Bingo -- one where the dancing girls ditch Bond-style bikinis in favor of ratty minis and black, skull-dotted T-shirts -- these are no

Overview

Sleater-Kinney have forged an alarmingly dense sound from a potentially single-missioned weapon -- punk rock. While the hip-shaking sixth album from this northwestern juggernaut might conjure images of an edgier Beach Blanket Bingo -- one where the dancing girls ditch Bond-style bikinis in favor of ratty minis and black, skull-dotted T-shirts -- these are no mere three-chord party anthems. These tunes address, among other things, the World Trade Center disaster, motherhood (singer-guitarist Corin Tucker recently gave birth), and relationships gone sour. The trio's familiar sound remains intact: fiery vocal sparring between Tucker and guitarist Carrie Brownstein, set off by the crashing rhythms turned out by drummer Janet Weiss. But for their first release in two years, Sleater-Kinney intensify their sound, rendering their usual bluster even more complex. This is partly due to experimentation that pays off: A horn section illuminates the peppery, Romeo Void-like "Step Aside," and a slinky, even bluesy backbeat punctuates Tucker's hoo-hoo-hoos in "Sympathy." As always, the mesmerizing vocal interaction between Tucker's roaring quiver and Brownstein's sweeter style is key, so much that it becomes a sort of secret language on "Combat Rock" and the mournful, new wave-y "Prisstina." Already a live favorite, "Far Away" is like a grittier answer to the Bangles, equal parts silky harmonies and monstrous drumming, Weiss's burly rhythms inserting somber pauses and bursts of joy as needed. They may have called it One Beat, but this disc offers many opportunities to shake your stuff. The limited-edition version includes two extra tracks: "Off with Your Heads" and "Lions and Tigers."

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide
Having consolidated their strengths with All Hands on the Bad One, Sleater-Kinney revived the ambition of The Hot Rock on their sixth album, One Beat. John Goodmanson gives the group its cleanest-sounding production to date, which brings out all the new trappings in the ever more sophisticated arrangements. "Step Aside" boasts trumpet and sax, "The Remainder" a string section, several tracks are colored with delightfully weird vintage synths (the sort favored by Brian Eno or Pere Ubu), and there's even a theremin on "Funeral Song." (Trivia: The playful "Prisstina" also features the first male vocals ever on a Sleater-Kinney album, courtesy of Hedwig & the Angry Inch mastermind Stephen Trask.) Lyrically, One Beat is haunted by September 11; "Faraway" and the cry of dissent "Combat Rock" are some of the strongest statements on the tragedy any artist has yet released, and the backdrop lends a new urgency to Corin Tucker's pleas for a better world for her new son, not to mention the personal catharsis of "O2." All of this makes One Beat a much more effective stab at maturity than the often-difficult The Hot Rock. True, the group does occasionally fall into the angularity that made The Hot Rock their least immediate effort, but One Beat offers more rewards upon repeated plays -- the more challenging tracks eventually do sink in. The album does have its minor drawbacks -- Carrie Brownstein's vocals can be a bit precious at times, and the pointed 9/11 observations make the occasional feminist sloganeering sound like nothing the group hasn't done better elsewhere. All of which is to say that if you've never understood the cultish adoration surrounding Sleater-Kinney, One Beat isn't likely to change your mind. But if you're already on board with their idiosyncrasies, One Beat is another triumph from a band that seems to produce them with startling regularity. [One Beat
Rolling Stone - Neva Chonin
Whether whupping their axes or singing the blues, the women of Sleater-Kinney are always pushing punk to the boiling point.
Spin Magazine - Joe Gross
One Beat's hooks require a few passes to take hold. But the band's return to forward motion still feels like leadership. (8)

Product Details

Release Date:
08/20/2002
Label:
Kill Rock Stars
UPC:
0759656138727
catalogNumber:
1387

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