Sleater-Kinney ‎– Live In Paris

4 out of 5

Label: Sub Pop

Produced by: (recorded live)

Sleater-Kinney’s songs, to me, fall into three main categories: rockers, pop, and indie. The latter stuff I enjoy, the middle stuff – featuring a lot of group oohs and aahs – doesn’t do much for me, and the rockers, I love.

Initially pulling material mostly from their most recent (at that point) releases – The Woods, No Cities To Love, and One Beat – this Cities To Love-era live Paris set offers a fair mix of those three styles, before digging into a appreciably varied set of B-sides and early cuts. The recording is fantastic, and is a testament to how well the various producers the group has worked with – John Goodmanson and Dave Friedmann, mainly – have managed to capture S-K’s energy and intensity. By the same token, this means the songs don’t change all of that much from their studio versions, although Corin Tucker does allow herself some wonderful extra punch to her vocals, which helps push the pop and indie stuff into more voracious territory; undoubtedly, the group is (and would be) a grabbing live act.

Without much variation from album recordings, then, if Live is assessed as a greatest hits, it might be a mixed bag, as it veers away from what I would consider their most notable tracks until the encore of Dig Me Out and Modern Girl, but as simply a showcase for how solid the group has been over the course of many years and releases, it stands equal in terms of quality (of material; of recording fidelity) to anything else in their catalogue.