Like the singles that have preceded it, ‘The Center Won’t Hold’ continues to shift away from the more straightforward rock of the band’s previous albums, edging into more abstract post-punk territory.
It’s an experimental, angular cut that situates Carrie Brownstein’s vocals against what sounds like eerie, dissonant machinery parts. Towards the end, however, the song gives way to propulsive, fuzzed-out noise rock, as Corin Tucker howls the song’s title. It rules, and if it’s any indication of the band embracing their darker, weirder side on this album we’re stoked.
“‘The Center Won’t Hold’ drops you into the world of catastrophe that touches on the election,” wrote Tucker in a statement about the track. “And almost like a mission statement, at the end of that song, it’s like the band is finding its way out of that space by becoming a rock band.”
The track is one of the last Sleater-Kinney tracks to feature longtime drummer Janet Weiss, who announced her departure from the band at the start of the month. Weiss performed on the album but has since parted ways with the band, saying “The band is heading in a new direction and it is time for me to move on. I will never forget the heights we reached or the magnificent times Corin, Carrie and I shared. We were a force of nature.”
Brownstein recently spoke about Weiss’ departure in a reply to an Instagram comment, writing “What am I supposed to say? She left. We asked her to stay. We tried. It’s hard and sad.” See the full statement here via Pitchfork.
The Center Won’t Hold is out next month, Friday, 16th August. Listen to the title track below.