Corin Tucker Band – 1000 Years

Corin Tucker Band – 1000 Years

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When Sleater-Kinney disbanded in 2006, breaking the hearts of their vast and fiercely loyal fan base, the blame was laid squarely on frontwoman Corin Tucker. Although her band mates seemed willing to continue a very brave career and keep up their famously ferocious live show, Tucker did not try to disguise the fact that she was getting tired. Perhaps she sensed that Sleater-Kinney could never again be as pitch perfect as it was with their final record, The Woods. After that masterpiece, the girls could ride off into the sunset as an iconic rock trio, and Tucker wouldn’t have to force any sort of ill-fitting act (so many bands should be taking notes). As a young wife and new mom, she hardly seemed riot grrl material any longer.

But once bit by the rock bug, it’s hard to be content with school schedules and soccer practice. Thus we have The Corin Tucker Band, a departure from Sleater-Kinney that finds Tucker about where you’d find her. She still sounds like herself, but patient, controlled, and reserved. She hasn’t altogether abandoned the banshee yelps, but she utilizes them precious few times. Gone also are the shrieking guitars and pumping melodies. These are rock songs, but they’re slow boilers that spend most of their time meandering like a gunpowder trail. They require patience, and occasionally reward it.

It’s certainly rewarded on “Half a World Away,” the album’s standout track. The percussion-heavy, piano-plinking lament of a long distance marriage is a gripping ride, on which Tucker’s apocalyptic caterwaul is harnessed, tamed, and unleashed in slinkier, more dangerous-sounding version. Also good is “Riley,” the most Sleater-Kinney sounding song of the bunch. Tucker’s voice is back in full force, and the guitars and drums follow suit. It’s an immediate song, whose charms are on the bottom shelf for listeners looking for a punk fix.

But restraint is a double-edged sword, and sometimes Tucker aims for “measured” and lands right in “boring.” “Dragon” is a too-precious, limp-wristed attempt at chamber pop that plays like a firework with a broken fuse — a lot of build up for a little sputter. And though “Thrift Store Coat” features some of the album’s strongest lyrics (a hymn to the recession) the shifting tones are unpleasantly schizophrenic.

It’s an intimate enough journey, and a brave turn for so-established a musician. It’s also the logical next step in the career of a woman whose anarchistic youth is fading before the subdued realities of adulthood. It’ll take a few listens for 1000 Years to reveal its charms, a trait that befits a musician of Tucker’s caliber. She’s writing, as she always has, in the immediacy of where she is. That place may not be familiar to longtime fans, but they shouldn’t judge too quickly. They, themselves, may well be there soon enough.


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