By Laura L.
If there’s one word to describe Corin Tucker, that’s punk rock. OK, that’s two words.
A few more words to describe Corin Tucker—post-riot grrrl. For those familiar with Tucker from her late, great band, Sleater-Kinney, one might expect a more guttural sound from her new band on its debut album, 1,000 Years. While there’s a definite punk edge on some of the tracks, this album often showcases the softer side of Corin Tucker. Those accustomed to Corin Tucker’s vocal trademarks will likely be surprised, and hopefully pleased, by the songs on this album.
The album opens with the title track, with both electric and acoustic guitar featured. One can notice right away that Tucker’s vocals—which one tends to either love or hate (I’m in the former camp)—are definitely more subdued than on any Sleater-Kinney record. After the first verse, the drums come in, as if they’re marching. “Half a World Away” showcases percussion, and does so in a way not often heard in pop/rock music. It definitely takes the listener half a world away, hence the title. “It’s Always Summer” has a more country-fied sound—something I never would have pictured Tucker singing along to. She paints a picture with her lyrics, the way good singer/songwriters do. “Handed Love” continues her singing in an alto range, as opposed to the higher register Sleater-Kinney fans like myself have become accustomed to.
“Doubt” sees the welcome addition of punk rock to the album. Here, we finally hear a bit of Tucker’s signature wail. This song is perhaps my favorite of the album, and perhaps the most danceable. The guitar solo makes me want to head-bang. The next track, “Dragon,” is by contrast, more mellow, and Tucker goes back to singing in that lower register.
“Riley” has a guitar riff that sounds very Sleater-Kinney-ish (I know, I know, but I can’t help but make the comparison). It, too, is rather danceable. This is perhaps my second-favorite track of the album. “Pulling Pieces,” like “Dragon” before it, is the calm after the storm, so to speak. Tucker’s vocals are practically a whisper through most of the song. “Thrift Store Coats,” unlike the rest of the album, is piano-based rather than guitar-based, at least to start off with. After a verse, the drums and guitar start in. “Big Goodbye” is another track in which Tucker’s vocals are in a low and quiet tone. “Miles Away” is also a piano-based track, this time with just piano. It showcases Tucker’s vocals rather nicely, I think.
Overall, this is a fine debut from The Corin Tucker Band. Some will be disappointed at the lack of vibrato in Tucker’s vocals, but I personally like Tucker exploring her “softer side,” if you will. If she wants to wait until her next album to break out the wail, I say go for it!
1,000 Years was released October 5, 2010 on Kill Rock Stars. Catch The Corin Tucker Band live in February at the following joints:
February 17—Seattle, WA @ The Showbox at the Market w/Yo La Tengo
February 25—Portland, OR @ Doug Fir w/Versus
February 27—Portland, OR @ Kennedy School, YouWho Kids show