Sleater-Kinney: Carrie Brownstein, Corin Tucker (vocals, guitar); Janet Weiss (vocals, drums, percussion).
Additional personnel: John Goodmanson (E-bow guitar); Jen Charowhas (violin); Brent Arnold (cello); Mike Wayland (alto & tenor saxophones); Russ Scott (trumpet); Steve Fisk (keyboards); Stephen Trask (synthesizer, background vocals); Sam Coomes (theremin).
Recorded at Jackpot! Studio, Portland, Oregon in March & April 2002.
When a decent-sized hype machine shone a spotlight on Sleater-Kinney around the time of 1997's DIG ME OUT, their sound was fresh and invigorating, but at its core starkly simple, revolving around fairly basic, yet oddly bewitching three-minute punk songs injected with the fevered vocals of Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker, backed by the Janet Weiss' frenzied beat. Five years later, two serviceable, if not earth-shattering, records proved prelude to the remarkable evolution of the stunning and complex ONE BEAT. Drawing from some of the best elements of punk innovators like Mission Of Burma and The Fall, the trio creates unpredictable yet enthralling songs replete with the band's trademark dialectic razor-blade vocals countered with honeyed harmony.
ONE BEAT opens simply enough as insistent drums are overlaid with a repeated guitar riff before the vocal kicks in with lines like "if you were Thomas Edison, would you invent the world for me." But somewhere in the midst of the brilliantly inconsistent "Far Away" the album breaks ranks into a beguiling rock & roll puzzle. By the time a synth wails in on the dance-punk of "Oh!" or horns sneak into the background of the somewhat rapturous "Step Aside," it's apparent that the already-acclaimed Sleater-Kinney have themselves the most accomplished record of their career.
What the critics say...
Rolling Stone (12/26/02, p.110) - Included in Rolling Stone's "50 Best Albums of 2002"
Rolling Stone (9/5/02, pp.69-70) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Their most ambitious album...Their riotous manifesto remains the same, but their musical dialect has expanded to include blues, soul and even traces of pristine Led Zepplin-era metal..."
Spin (1/03, p.71) - Ranked #12 on Spin's list of 2002's "Albums of the Year" - "...Their post-9/11 record, their postpartum record, and their sharpest statement yet."
Q (10/02, p.117) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Sometimes an attitude, a thumping beat and an A-plus scream like the one Carrie Brownstein provides here are really all that's needed."
Uncut (1/03, p.97) - Ranked #58 in Uncut's "100 Best Albums of the Year"
Uncut (10/02, p.104) - 3.5 out of 5 - "...music of angles and intensity and art-inflected fury...fiercely bright, socially and emotionally engaged, justifiably righteous in places..."
The Wire (9/02, p.63) - "...On ONE BEAT the trio confidently attempt a more complex take on the world....In places they come over like latterday Ronettes crossed with Shellac informed by the wisdom of Billie Holiday..."
CMJ (12/30/02, p.10) - Ranked #6 on CMJ's "Top 10 of 2002"
Mojo (Publisher) (9/02, p.108) - "...one of the great rock 'n' roll bands...these thirtysomethings have set themselves on shaping the future."
NME (Magazine) (8/17/02, p.32) - 7 out of 10 - "...In between the domestic, the commercial and the worldly, Sleater-Kinney keep it wild."