Phonotonal

Sleater-Kinney
Little Rope LP

Little Rope is an album with instant classics you’ll be replaying often. You’ll probably decide to get a new pair of headphones. Sounds good? Read on, there’s more.

The US-based duo released a new album after three years. Many may be wondering if, after almost thirty years on the stage, they still have something to offer. 

The answer won’t surprise anyone.

The Background Bits First

The album, released on 19th January 2024, is Sleater-Kinney’s eleventh studio album. It was produced by John Congleton who worked with other big names in the past: Amanda Palmer, Manchester Orchestra, Eddie Vedder, Warpaint, or Sigur Rós to name a few.

Thoughts on Sleater-Kinney and Their Album Little Rope

The album opens with ‘Hell’, a song that could also be a poem. A poem in which guitars take the second row and allow the drums to lead.

The song is imbued with the themes of a confused society in deep crisis, possibly without a future. The band starts picturing their vision from the get-go with: ‘Hell don’t have no worries / Hell don’t have no past / Hell is just a signpost / When you take a certain path’ and closes the first stanza with: ‘Hell is desperation / And a young man with a gun’, a terrifying image that is rather deceptive, as it points to everything we’ve been facing globally.

Raw sound and emotions in motion.

Sleater-Kinney – Hell (Official Music Video)

Speaking of raw, the album’s sound is raw, messy, and powerful, with dynamic drums and guitars taking you places.

Sleater-Kinney are still dominating. Their (post-)punk, indie, (noise-)rock background is present in every song the album offers. They’re one of those bands that always understand their roots and identity.

The album is full of gems, from ‘Don’t Feel Right’ to ‘Crusader’, a song that changes its pace a few times, to ‘Say It Like You Mean It’ – you feel sadness, another major theme of the album, when you hear: ‘Say it like you mean it / I need to hear it before you go’ and ‘go’ is very silent, as if the lead is running out of words.

Many of the songs are about grief and loss, but none of them give you the feeling of someone wallowing in self-pity, even though they could.

Brownstein and Tucker close the album with ‘Untidy Creature’ an instant classic. An emotional piece with a monster of a riff, and brilliant vocals. It all goes great together with the song’s themes. ‘I looked up and saw the bars intact / Locked up tight, the perfect trap’ surfaces the feeling of being trapped, a captive. As further verses reveal, the theme is an unhealthy relationship that becomes suffocating.

Sleater Kinney – ‘Untidy Creature’ (Official Music Video)

It may also reflect the world in which we live – a world that tells women what they should and shouldn’t do or takes away control over their bodies (the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade). Good old conservative values.

To Sum Things Up

Little Rope is one of the best albums of 2024. While heavy and emotional, with themes spanning grief and loss, navigating difficult situations, and having certain political undertones, the album offers an experience that only a few will be able to match this year.

If you like a good combination of indie and rock, with sprinkles of post-punk, the album is an easy choice. And if you don’t. just listen to ‘Untidy Creature’ for the riff.

Written by Vinklarek on

Petr 'Pete' Vinklárek writes mainly about music. Prior to entering the digital industry, he taught Translation Studies & British and American Cinema at a university. In his spare time, he hikes, listens to podcasts, watches films, and writes poetry. Petr studied the English Language and Literature at The University of Ostrava; his master’s thesis covered some aspects of Warren Zevon's work.
Petr

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