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This is a very interesting release. After the departure of long-time drummer Janet Weiss, the dynamic of Sleater-Kinney was always going to change, or differ. However, the duo of Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein have kept the torch lit respectfully with the follow-up to 2019’s acclaimed The Center Won’t Hold. In truth two-thirds of Sleater-Kinney is better than none, and this album is far better than expected, in fact it’s a great listen. The Path Of Wellness retains that energetic basis of the mid-nineties Riot Grrrl movement, it is less commercialized, or even art-rock sounding than the previous release.
Those expecting a mundane plodding through numbers will be quite surprised by what’s on offer. As the album fires up with passion, and drives forward thanks to some bombastic arrangements by the now duo. It is worth noting The Path Of Wellness is actually the band’s first self-produced work. That control over this release is an important factor at this point in time, and perhaps it is their way of rebuilding and sounding fresh. But the proof is in the playback, and Sleater-Kinney have done a respectful job across these eleven tracks. That fact works in their favour as fans and critics will view this as a new chapter. Compared to previous albums, this one is under the microscope more than any other since their return after a decade with 2015’s No Cities to Love.
Anyhow, this is a band who are at their best when they are challenging the consensus. From the opening, self-titled track, you realise how much of Sleater-Kinney’s identity is still within the mix. It is laden in funk tones with a twist of menace that makes it stutter along as it shifts gears effortlessly. The lyrics spark as they always have – “Drain me of my toxins drain me of the life I lead, but you will never rid me of my human frailty”. Following is the dense, melodic assault of “High in the Grass”, again after the initial burst it settles into a rolling guitar pattern that sways, breaks at the chorus, all together making it a sweet listen.
1.Path Of Wellness
2.High in the Grass
3.Worry With You
9.Complex Female Characters
10.Down The Line
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