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Sleater-Kinney | One Beat (Kill Rock Stars)
Returning from a two-year hiatus with their sixth full-length, Sleater-Kinney, surely the best all-girl rock band of all time, have surpassed themselves. There is fresh resolve in their familiarly angular, shouty brand of indie-rock; rather than mellowing with age, they have grown to be more poised and self-confident. There is a certain elegance to the new material, on songs like Far Away and Oh! with its girlish intent made powerful by an immaculate, high-energy chorus. By way of guest appearances, 'One Beat' features Sam Coomes (Quasi) on theramin, and Steve Fisk on keyboards. Notably, Stephen Trask supplies the first male vocals ever to be included on any record by this band. Admittedly, these are only (barely perceptible) backing vocals, but, hey, these things are important. This record hardly breaks new ground, but it doesn't need to - here is a fantastic band at the peak of its powers. They know exactly what they want, and, crucially, how they're going to get it.
CWAS #11 - Autumn 2002