Monday, November 14, 2011
Review Catch Up: Wild Flag
Sleater Kinney's final record The Woods was a slightly schizophrenic listen as it was filled with classic sounding SK songs as well as these off kilter rock monsters - big riffs, heavy fuzz, heavy drama. Since the split and the subsequent release of a solo record by Corin Tucker and now Wild Flag which features Carrie Brownstein and drumming bohemoth Janet Weiss, it's now very evident where that divide came. Tucker's record comes off like a toned down SK record while Wild Flag have returned to the garage to rock the fuck out. Both records are great but Wild Flag has the edge.
In Wild Flag, Brownstein and Weiss are joined by Rebecca Timony (Helium) and Rebecca Cole (The Minders) who seem dedicated to exploring nuggets era garage rock through a post punk sensibility with a bit of psychedelica thrown in for good measure. Seriously, Glass Tambourine gets all White Rabbit on you but it doesn't sound affected, ironic or out of place, it just rocks and allows Weiss embrace her inner Bonham in the freak out finale. First single Romance is less about romantic love than the romance of music and the listener, a theme that seems to run through the album. While Timony and Brownstein trade vocals, the difference is less noticeable than the SK dynamic but Brownstein seems intent on embracing the rockier side of the band. Songs like Boom and Racehorse are all rock n' roll grit and strut and Brownstein plays and sings as if her life depended on it. Given how great Portlandia is, it'd wouldn't be surprising if she didn't return to music at all but it's obvious this is where her heart lies.
For me, SK reached a creative highpoint on One Beat and the messy Woods seemed to highlight internal conflicts in the band (although it featured the phenomenal Entertain - holy shit that song is great). Wild Flag more than makes up for SK's absence which I never thought was possible. This album is a hearfelt fireball of pure rock action and worthy of your attention.