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Sleater-Kinney | The Hot Rock (Matador)
Following one of '98's most critically cherished albums (Dig Me Out), the stakes are upped for The Hot Rock. Thankfully the band have refused to rest on past glories and make Dig Me Out 2, instead making a surprisingly melodic, mature record. The key ingredients remain the same ?? Corin Tucker's unrivalled vocals, Carrie Brownstein's consistently imaginative guitar lines and Janet Weiss' formidable drum skills ?? but here are deployed with more restraint and (yikes!) finesse than before. Likewise the venomous lyrics of previous work has been bypassed by a more considered, no less confessional, tone ('I'd set your heart on fire but arson is no way to make a love burn brighter'). God Is A Number and Banned from the End of the World face up to life in 1999, the first tackling the onslaught of technology ('Grow up on the internet, get off on TV; tell me about God and Country, music, heart and history'), the latter impervious to the impending millennium ('A new world rushes on and we'll just play along... The future is here, look in the mirror. We're the band from the end of the world'). Some may miss the sheer aggression and spark of Dig Me Out and its predecessors, but The Hot Rock allows another side of Sleater-Kinney to shine.

Matt Dornan
CWAS #4 - Winter 1998/9 - The Lost Issue