I have my doubts as to whether the picture-to-words exchange rate still operates at a multiplier of one thousand, but I am sure that a photo can make a mighty promise. The arrival, through social media channels, of a studio-snapped image earlier this year, with the members of Sleater-Kinney assembled in a mixing booth and St. Vincent sitting before them, slide pots below her extended hand. The most potent, powerful rock band of the past thirty years crafting new material under the watchful eye (and attentive ear) of arguably the most consistently great, deliriously inventive pop music creator of her generation? I was so light-headed I couldn’t even nod my joyful assent.
The first song from that collaboration — and therefore the lead single from the forthcoming Sleater-Kinney album — arrived this week, and the suggestion of grandness is thus far fulfilled. Opening with an electrified chorus of voices puts St. Vincent’s signature on the song immediately, and then the guitars and thumping drum kick in. Sure enough, it sounds exactly like Sleater-Kinney taken through a St. Vincent filter. I couldn’t quite fathom what that would be like previously, but it was unmistakable: thick, ferocious, shimmering, anxious, refined, steely, no nonsense, glorious.