The hotly-awaited fourth album produced, recorded and mixed by Roger Moutenot, who focuses the band's energy on their unrivaled blend of rock and roll elements and pure fire girl punk.
It's a general rule in the music industry that the faster you rise to stardom, the faster you slide into oblivion. In the terrifyingly fickle world of rock criticism, the high acclaim that met Sleater-Kinney's first two albums would indicate that only simple neglect was due to them upon the release of The Hot Rock
. But the women of Sleater-Kinney continue to defy the norms of rock & roll with an album of such distinctive graces that it approaches the status of classic. In each of the album's 13 tracks, the band's development from fierce grrrls to musical icons rings out loud and clear. The guitar work of Carrie Brownstein has never been more provocative and exact, summoning up the wiry deftness of Television
's Tom Verlaine. Her "Burn, Don't Freeze" has a dry, discordant guitar line that weaves itself between the dueling vocals of both singers. The signature scorch of Corin Tucker's singing now modulates between the soft calls of the slow dance "A Quarter to Three" and the nuclear blast of the antitechnology "God Is a Number." The larger-than-life "The End of You" showcases the finest work from Brownstein, Tucker, and drummer Janet Weiss. As befitting its nautical themes, the song is oceanic and mercurial, gliding through its movements with all the drama of the mutiny it describes. The Hot Rock
is exactly like the diamond of the title--hard, beautiful, and full of mysterious allure. --Lois Maffeo