Illustration titled "Interior of Allens & Chapman's Drug Store" from History of the Pacific Northwest: Oregon and Washington, 1889
I know that this album has been out for a while, but it took me this long to give up on my local music store getting a copy of it for me (I ended up going to Amazon - surprise surprise.) I've been only a little better than lukewarm on Sleater-Kinney for a long time, but I have a lot of respect for what they were doing. For me, the main draw in Wild Flag is not Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss - the other half of the band (Mary Timony and Rebecca Cole) is where my allegiance lies (as a HUGE fan of both Helium and the Minders). The math bears itself out with Wild Flag as you might expect - two parts S-K, one part Helium, one part Minders - but there's plenty to enjoy here.
I was drawn at first primarily to the songs that sound like Helium ("Something Came Over Me", "Black Tiles"), as well as the poppier, Minders-style tracks like "Electric Band" and "Endless Talk". But the album is not really fractured enough to be listened to piecemeal, though, so I found myself enjoying the whole thing before long. Wild Flag is not playing to their strengths when they try to ROCK OUT in all caps - the clunky and overlong "Racehorse" is the album's weakest track because of this issue. On the other hand, the band is at their best when they are taking advantage of the four very distinctive voices they have at their disposal, which is why the songs with strong backing vocals are my favorites on Wild Flag. Tracks like "Romance" provide a good example of the band balancing their snarling rock attitude with a catchy, harmony-heavy chorus and a pretty, girl-group-style bridge.
"Romance" by Wild Flag