Sleater-Kinney: Little Rope [Album Review]

Little Rope
Loma Vista Recordings [2024]

Album Overview: Sleater-Kinney’s album Little Rope is one of the most delicately layered records in the band’s nearly 30-year career. It explores themes of grief, loss, and navigating a world in perpetual crisis. The album’s emotional depth is evident in its complex arrangements and a lyrical focus. It is the second album without longtime drummer Janet Weiss and represents a more natural progression with the remaining original members compared to their last outing, The Path Of Wellness (2021).

Musical Style: The album’s style varies from spare to anthemic, featuring precise arrangements. Songs range from jangly to restrained, making it their most rocking since 2015’s No Cities To Love.

Evolution of Sound: Little Rope marks Sleater-Kinney’s first collaboration with Grammy-winning producer John Congleton, evident in textured atmospherics transforming spare songs. His influence is evident when Sleater-Kinney transform initially spare songs into more blown out rock tracks. You won’t hear the early rapid fire Sleater punk from early albums but the same muscular delivery is here.

Artists with Similar Fire: This album is for fans of Ex Hex, Bully, The Beths and The Breeders.

Pivotal Tracks: The standout tracks on Little Rope include “Hell,” the opener with its emotional thesis statement and musical sound is a welcomed return for the band. “Say It Like You Mean It” feels like a different track for Sleater-Kinney with its unadorned riff backing a raw examination of a relationship coming apart, with a chorus that showcases Tucker at her best. Another notable track is the closing song, “Untidy Creature,” which is a heavy guitar marcher that has an excellent slow burn and feels very unique in the group’s catalog.

Lyrical Strength: The album’s lyrical strength lies in its exploration of grief, loss, and transformation. The lyrics often upend initial impressions, revealing deeper layers of meaning upon repeated listens. The emotional range of Corin Tucker’s vocals adds a potent dimension to the album, with moments of vulnerability and rawness that contribute to its soul-bearing quality.

The Path Of Wellness (2021) / The Center Won’t Hold (2019) / Live In Paris (2017) / No Cities To Love (2015) / Bury Our Friends 7″ (2014)

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Thomas Wilde

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