The Woods

Sub Pop
Reviewed by: Anthony Miccio
Reviewed on: 2005-05-24

Posted 05/24/2005 - 09:48:35 AM by AlfredSoto:
 OOOOH! This is the first dis of the album I've read, and what a good one. However, you CAN upset patriarchy by emulating the Who – by listening to the early singles and "Who's Next," not "Who By Numbers" or "Face Dances" or "It's Hard."
Posted 05/24/2005 - 10:32:28 AM by Bobthespirit:
 Ugh..there's nothing worse than when critics bash an album for sounding fresh. Sleater-Kinney could have made another great album that sounds just like their older stuff...but why buy it? I already have their older stuff.
Posted 05/24/2005 - 10:39:26 AM by RyanGoldman:
 Thank you, Anthony, for such an intelligent, honest, and well-balanced review. I appreciate you putting your fandom at the forefront and STILL taking this album to task for its laziness, contradictions, and bad choices. Let's be honest, this album has some fantastic tunes and tremendous moments and it's understandable that S-K would both want to break from the mold and try new things that are interesting to them at the moment. But, if the songs are not fun to listen to, the album feels clunky and misshaped, and the chugga-chugga sounds like it's for its own sake, as opposed to for the sake of obscuring and/or emphasizing the rest of the song. Components don't make good music (maybe dance music or electronic music, but not rock 'n' roll) and this album has lots of them.
Posted 05/24/2005 - 02:50:36 PM by andrewi31:
 My goodness, what a horrible opener. "Bands start with musical intent and a discovery of self". What kind of thought process does a writer go through to publish a line like that? "Hmm, 'all bands start out with…’, well, that's sounds too encompassing, how about 'some bands' - no that's not really saying anything. How about dropping the 'musical intent' bit, I mean, it is sort of obvious even for a dumbass internet ‘zine. Okay- 'All bands', no- 'Bands start with a discovery of self'. Is that either a coherent sentence or thought? Nope, well I'll just throw that 'musical intent' stuff back in and run with it." The blanket statement that it is "artistic suicide" for a reliable band who has found its niche to suddenly "actively avoid that predictable 'self'” - yes it’s a stupid or non-idea expressed horribly; no, it’s not applicable to this album. “The Woods” isn't really a departure for S-K, certainly not like (the eerie?!?) "The Hot Rock" was. Sure, it has longer songs and a couple of guitar solos (oh freaking god no not guitar solos!!), though it isn’t, for the most part, nearly as indulgent in that regard as the reviewer would have you believe. (Except “Let's Call it Love” where the reviewer liked the 6-minutes of jamming– but not the vocal parts, comparing it to Creed. Go figure). It also has a more overdriven guitar sound than previous records. Woah. Call yr daddy to come pick you up. The point is “The Woods” is just the same old politically annoying but fantastically screamy-poundy Sleater-Kinney chicks who dig a little deeper in the muck, finally making a record that blows me away from beginning to end. Now if they could only top Good Charlotte’s “blessedly literal expressions of emotion and identity delivered through unabashed and outrageously catchy songcraft.” What a fag. Blessedly.
Posted 05/24/2005 - 04:22:42 PM by orangeapple:
 If you've ever seen S-K live (and it's one of the best live shows around), the record makes perfect sense. It's tiresome to urge a band to just stick with what worked before. How fucking boring. It's their seventh album! "Preening rock gods demanding our sympathy"? I'll buy the "rock gods" part, but the last thing this record does is "preen" (leave that to the Killers and the Bravery) or demand sympathy (leave that to the hysterical emo-pop boys.) It's defiant and furious and perhaps deliberately divisive. Also must say that the lyrics, far from hokey or contradictory, are among the saddest, most complex, and most poetic I've ever heard from this band. (See "Jumpers" and "Rollercoaster.") Like "Sympathy," these ones put a sob in my throat every time. I do agree with you that they are still one of the best rock bands in the world.
Posted 05/25/2005 - 01:36:28 AM by Bobthespirit:
 All this talk about S-K's politics....for the sake of critical objectivity, shouldn't a political band be judged not based on whether or not you agree with the politics expressed, but rather the skill with which they're expressed? I think the only problem with this album is the occasional bit of way too much noise. Otherwise, I hate to see reactionary criticism when bands move in new directions.
Posted 05/25/2005 - 01:55:06 PM by troysteele:
 This is easily their weakest release to date, thank you for being one of the only sane critics to take them to task. It was also a nice change of pace to read a Stylus review that wasn't just awarding another mindless "A" rating.
Posted 05/26/2005 - 02:00:16 PM by mvdu76:
 I just have to respond here. This is their strongest album, and it's an album that deserves its near universal acclaim. IMO, it is both experimental and Sleater-Kinney style rocking.
Posted 05/26/2005 - 08:38:24 PM by mtwill:
 whoops. the reviews are in and it looks like stylus dropped the ball again! editor . . . . QC please! well, you blew it on one of the best albums of the millenium, but at least art brut is the album of the week. good call, guys. readers, please consult with the fine folk at pitchfork and cmg, who get it right on the $ and, incidentally, would never let this nonsense pass through. you sure ian didn't write this? ha ha ha . . . i'm rick james, bitch!
Posted 05/27/2005 - 01:07:42 AM by IanMathers:
 Of course not, mtwill - I would have given it a C-.
Posted 05/27/2005 - 12:37:40 PM by Garnish:
 this review is so muthafuckin shit, i can't believe it. make me wanna burn my muthafuckin house down.
Posted 05/27/2005 - 03:22:47 PM by mtwill:
 I know you're just saying that, Ian. Good job on B&S;, though, although that was a pretty easy one . . .
Posted 05/27/2005 - 11:06:04 PM by ectocooler:
 I'm not a Sleater Kinney fan. I listened to One Beat maybe a dozen times before deleting it, and have heard nothing else they've done. This is a hundred times better than One Beat. The production is outstanding. I'm really enjoying this.
Posted 05/28/2005 - 01:36:57 PM by anthonymiccio:
 I didn't think it was particularly relevant to the piece, but I will note that, aside from "Oh!" and "Step Aside," I do prefer The Woods to One Beat.
Posted 06/01/2005 - 09:55:19 PM by kevingilmartin:
 Lame review. My biggest complaint is trying to knock feminist politics which are clearly not the central issue here. The only example I can think of is "Modern Girl," which is only "feminist" in the sense that Carrie Brownstein is a girl. Way to be a dick, though. Album of the year.
Posted 06/09/2005 - 03:27:55 PM by wmdavidson:
 Album of the year, no doubt. Phenomenal achievement.
Posted 12/13/2005 - 06:06:05 AM by Zarklephaser:
 In retrospect, this one's definitely ALBUM OF THE YEAR.