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ALBUM REVIEW

'Dig Me Out' Shimmers Like a New Rock Frontier

April 05, 1997|SARA SCRIBNER

*** 1/2 SLEATER-KINNEY

"Dig Me Out"

Kill Rock Stars

Sleater-Kinney was reared on the anger, frustration and hellbent-on-liberation stance of the Pacific Northwest's Riot Grrrl movement. That energy has been instilled in this Portland-based band, which delivered a subversive tour de force last year with its second album, "Call the Doctor."

With even more strength and focus on its follow-up, singer-guitarists Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein and drummer Janet Weiss have cobbled together familiar elements and turned them into something that shimmers like a new rock frontier. "Dig Me Out" rides on deeply ornery, garage-perfect guitar, punk-primal beats, songs about breaking up and breaking out and Tucker's distinctively high vocals, which always seem to hover between a dare and a rallying cry.

"Words and guitar, I got it / I like it / Way, way too loud," Tucker sings/yelps on "Words + Guitar," an ode to just plain making music. That joy infuses the record, with its poppish hand claps and Tucker's Ramones-like hollers of "One-two-three-four!" But Tucker also explores her demons: From "Heart Factory" to "Not What You Want" and "One More Hour," she's obsessed with finding honest emotions within the cold machinery of the human heart.

Intimate explorations aside, Tucker, like any good rock 'n' roller, really just wants everyone to sing along. One can only hope that she'll get her wish.

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).

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