Sleater-Kinney returned just before everything changed. In 2015, nine years after a hiatus, the trio made No Cities to Love in secret. The resulting tour (featuring a pre-"Juice" Lizzo, by the way) didn't just feel like a second wind, but had to have "life inside of it" in order to make something "meaningful and powerful," as guitarist and singer Carrie Brownstein told NPR in 2015.
Then the 2016 U.S. election happened. Then Brexit happened. Now, Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss seem poised to carry the weight of the world, or at least get inside the person holding one of the backbreaking pieces.
"How does brokenness walk? Or move through the world?" Brownstein writes in a press release. "We're always mixing the personal and the political, but on this record, despite obviously thinking so much about politics, we were really thinking about the person — ourselves or versions of ourselves or iterations of depression or loneliness — in the middle of the chaos."
From the razor-cut choir that opens "Hurry on Home," chaos does appear to reign. Within its menacing riff and Weiss' rumbling drum pattern, there's a funhouse mirror of Ric Ocasek gone noise-rock, balancing heft and iridescent noise with airy synths. But the space between these extremes contains both Sleater-Kinney's rage and empathy. "Disconnect me from my bones," Brownstein sings, not just as an escape but as an understanding of what grief comes from fury flashing from all directions.