Whereas All Hands on the Bad One was a "crossover" album to love and One Beat was a punk cry to rally around, this one (driven by Flaming Lips producer Dave Fridmann) is a dirty bonecrusher, all Hammer of the Gals. The commotion and distortion can get wearying when they intrude on a ballad like "Modern Girl." Still, the faithful will get shivers from Corin Tucker's undiminished voice ("Land ho!" indeed), Carrie Brownstein's newly Led Ladyland guitar, and Janet Weiss's topping-herself-with-every-album drumming. There are blunt lyrics, too: "A family feud / The Red and the Blue now / It's Truth against Truth / I'll see you in hell, I don't mind." And two classics bookend the album: "The Fox," which stalks and pummels, and "Let's Call It Love" / "Night Light," joined by a jam (!) for a marathon of 15 minutes (!!). The Woods may often be a thicket of racket, but it's Sleater-Kinney on their own terms. We wouldn't want them any other way.
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