Punk-rockers Sleater-Kinney have packed a punch with this one, but it’s not all hardcore.
Bad girls do it better, right? Certainly seems to be the case for American trio Sleater-Kinney, whose tenth album swings from rocked-up love songs to those that incorporate something altogether more menacing. It is definitively punk, and definitely not tailored for the masses.
But if there’s one thing they get
absolutely right on this record, it’s balance. After three tracks that seem to
set the album up for a hard-hitting, shin-kicking overall tone, ‘Can I Go On’ shifts
us into something slightly less sinister, with a strangely upbeat sound accompanying
what remains a rather depressing subject matter. But it’s a lead-in: ‘Restless’
is a wild flower in this punk-rock tundra, a glimpse of something tender –
vulnerable, even. A well-earned breath of fresh air before diving headfirst
into the rest of the album, which also holds a few surprises.
The Centre Won’t Hold reaches something of an anti-climax in a slow, piano-backed finale on amorous hardship. An odd choice, really – the records penultimate track, ‘The Dog/The Body’, in all its glorious empowerment, would have been a far more fitting end to this rollercoaster record. To each their own, really: a solid tenth release overall.
Haiku Review The Centre Won’t Hold: Varied, vibrant and vicious; Odd choice of ending.