Sleater-Kinney were definitely an alt-reunion we wanted, even needed, as the amiable liberalism of the Obama era and Portlandia gave way to these darker times, Carrie Brownstein, Corin Tucker, and Janet Weiss revived their classic turn-of-the-millennium melodic agit-punk act with 2015’s wonderful No Cities To Love (QRO review). But how do you follow that up, when the reunion is no longer new, yet the times are still dark? By pushing further, particularly with contemporary electronics, on The Center Won’t Hold.
Produced by modern alt-star in her own right Annie Clark, a.k.a. St. Vincent (QRO spotlight on), Center definitely has added some of the tech elements one has also seen on the last few Vincent releases, like the tech-punk “Hurry On Home”, angular beat “Love”, and synthed distance of “The Future Is Here”. Admittedly, the electronics take a bit away from Sleater-Kinney’s natural energy, and even can come off a little as ‘trying to be contemporary’ – but there’s still a great kiss-off party in “Bad Dance”.
The Center Won’t Hold couldn’t be as great as reunion No Cities To Love, and sadly Weiss recently left the band, but Sleater-Kinney are most definitely back here, get used to it.