Sleater-Kinney, The Center Won’t Hold.

If Hurry On Home and The Future Is Here both heard Annie Clark bring a bucket of glossy, slick avant-pop production to Sleater-Kinney’s incisive, vital sound, then The Center Won’t Hold – the title track to their forthcoming ninth full-length effort – makes for a more bipolar, less balanced listen. For a touch over two minutes, it’s all industrial, almost Swans-worthy rhythmic components and “pain[ed],” expressionistic vocals, punctuated by moments reminiscent of The Knife’s Tomorrow, In a Year. For the remainder, following on from what sounds not unlike an ECG machine flatlining, it’s a convulsing, vicious affair; an arresting reminder of what they’ll miss now that dearest Janet Weiss has departed. Put these two somewhat discordant parts together, though, and you end up with what is a quite remarkable recording; the same will doubtless soon be said of the LP of the same name.

The Center Won’t Hold is available from August 16th via Mom + Pop, while Sleater-Kinney play the O2 Academy Brixton on February 26th.