For the first time as a duo the post punk and now post Janet Sleater-Kinney have put out a new single to herald the arrival of their new album so Path Of Wellness. It seems hot on the tail of The Center Wont Hold. They were right. It didn’t. We all Hurried on Home at the start of the pandemic and sat it out watching the clocks, the TV and the little black mirrors in our pockets for news of when we could emerge. I played The Center Wont Hold and it’s predecessor album No Cities To Love a lot during lock down. Sleater-Kinney have been a band I take huge solace from. I’ve dug them ever since All Hands On The Bad One.
“10,000 miles and an ocean between us, get me to your shore, so I can receive this If I’m gonna worry, I’m gonna worry with you”
Worry With You is a tight ideas packed pop nugget about throwing your all in with your significant other and being in it all together even when one thing and another keeps us apart.
“Middle of the night, dark thoughts are whirling, crossing off the days ‘til you are returning, If I’m gonna worry, I’m gonna worry with you”
There’s a lock-down narrative in the lyrics and it’s played for comedy fun in the cramped bedsit set video where those playing ciphers for The Band are living, eating, exercising, loving and cleaning on autopilot while the days fall into each other.
The combo makes for a clearly relatable parallel for anyone who didn’t spent 2020-2021 in palatial surrounds with outbuildings and personal space . Or for those of us who felt the pang of family held in their own holding patterns far from where we could see them for far too long.
“Oh, I’m on the other side picking up speed, Let go of shame and lies I don’t need, If I’m gonna fuck up, I’m gonna fuck up with you”
A dexterous lead guitar line sets the tone over a mystery drummers solid and switchupable* beats. Being as this is the bands first record in 25 years without drummer of Janet Weiss on sticks, the drum practice gag in the video can only be seen as a nod to her absence.
Word has it this album is self produced by Carrie and Corin so the whole “not liking the direction St Vincent took them in on the last album” thing might be a wound that could be healed. For now though this album was filled with local musicians and special guests fleshing out the prevailing duo’s full band sound. There’s tonal shifts in Worry With You that make it very much it’s own thing (a medieval flute tone to that guitar line. It’s madrigal) but also keep it right at home with the very best of the bands oeuvre.
Worry not long term fans. You can file Worry With You alongside Jumpers, A New Wave, Oh!, Was It A Lie?, The Future Is Here and No Anthems very nicely. This brave diversion is the next step in a fascinating bands constant growth.
“Come at me with all of your swagger The strength of you is what I’ve been after If I’m gonna mess up, I’m gonna mess up with you”
This just in from the front lines in the battle to Keep Indie Weird. Sleater-Kinney have followed Worry With You with a second video preview of the new album just a few short hours before publishing. The knowingly titled High In The Grass is all Joni Mitchell warbling and shut n’ cut melodies that hark right back to the bands Light Rail Coyote era in it’s catchy but awkward stakes. It’s too late in the day to rewrite the review above but I’d like to share the Chromakey, performance art, cluster fug of a video they’ve made for the track and say ‘If anyone thought SK had gone MOR. They’re still from downtown Portlandia and it shows.
Here’s Tom with the weather.