The Woods

  • Record Label: Sub Pop
  • Release Date: May 24, 2005
Metascore
88

Universal acclaim - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35
  1. This may be the band's most self-assured sounding work yet -- their music has never lacked confidence and daring, but now they sound downright swaggering.
  2. Alternative Press
    100
    [They] clearly sound alive with the possibility of redefining punk song structure by writing 11-minute flamboyant guitar dirges that have as much in common with My Bloody Valentine as they do with '70s arena rock. [May 2005, p.170]
  3. A smoldering rock and roll record that rivals John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band and Nirvana’s In Utero in terms of unexpectedness.
  4. Fans may have to have The Woods surgically removed from their players. It's just that powerful, demanding to be heard.
  5. Blender
    80
    Valhalla, they are coming! [Jun 2005, p.114]
  6. The Woods is an incredibly intense rock record even by S-K’s lofty standards; it's a call to arms that will hopefully force complacent indie kids to demand more from their rock music.
  7. The album is ambitious as it is daring, and it's the most refreshing piece of new music released thus far into 2005.
  8. Not exactly radio friendly, The Woods explores sonic deconstruction a la Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix instead of the preciously catchy indie pop hooks you’ve come to expect.
  9. Skull-crushingly heavy, but not without a heart, 'The Woods' is definitely Sleater-Kinney’s finest (and loudest) hour to date.
  10. A musical tour-de-force, and probably Sleater-Kinney’s best album to date.... If it lacks the immediate appeal and accessibility of One Beat or All Hands on the Bad One, it feels more mature and meaningful than either.
  11. The Woods seems like a retreat into the '90s, playing up the grunge and angst of the band's Northwestern stomping grounds.
  12. Entertainment Weekly
    91
    While it's surprising to hear Sleater-Kinney act so traditional, it's more shocking how well such conventions suit them. [27 May 2005, p.135]
  13. Filter
    84
    The stunning One Beat of 2002 is a tough act to follow, and The Woods pulls it off soundly (though not exceedingly) by slicing together another improbable mash of grace and chaos all in the service of elaborately unhinged melodies. [#15, p.95]
  14. Although an extreme statement, it is a major stylistic step forward for the band and pays off great dividends to those so inclined to follow them into The Woods.
  15. It is incensed, dark with disappointment, and shows a startling new side to Sleater-Kinney; while its intensity makes it one of their best albums to date, it isn’t here to make friends or fans.
  16. Mojo
    100
    [They] have made an evolutionary leap in rock. [Jun 2005, p.108]
  17. New Musical Express (NME)
    80
    Undoubtedly the one Sleater-Kinney album that everyone should have. [21 May 2005, p.66]
  18. The Woods is solid, well crafted and intensely energetic, but a magnum opus it is not.
  19. The trio delights in creating songs just to tear them down and rebuild them again in a different way, giving the album a dissonant, experimental edge.
  20. Despite the new song structures, guitar solos, and drum fills, Brownstein's guitar still roars wildly, Weiss's drums still thunder, and Tucker still wails with a primal urgency that is one of the most compelling sounds in rock music today.
  21. A record that sounds as if it would be very much at home on any AOR radio station in the 1970s.
  22. Not only does The Woods jumpstart a moribund genre, it also serves as a wake-up call for the zeitgeist.
  23. Q Magazine
    40
    Compared to their early work, disappointing. [Jun 2005, p.118]
  24. Rolling Stone
    80
    Some of the best and heaviest music of its career. [2 Jun 2005, p.70]
  25. The fact that a band spawned over ten years ago is so willing to try new things is refreshing, but with The Woods, Sleater-Kinney has surpassed even its most ardent supporter’s expectations as to the artistic heights the trio can attain.
  26. The least interesting, least engaging Sleater-Kinney album ever.
  27. The ridiculous in-the-red ruckus keeps you from noticing how hokey and contradictory the lyrics are.
  28. Although hard to digest at first, The Woods ingratiates itself on subsequent listens, making the band's other albums seem half-baked by comparison.
  29. Though the guitars sometimes get a little too intoxicated on their new freedom, this is a makeover that finally does the band's melodies proud.
  30. The Wire
    90
    Even when the songs aren't motivated by anger or frustration, they have a drive and a momentum that's breathtaking. [#256, p.52]
  31. The vicious licks laid down by Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker on "The Fox" are as punchy as anything I've heard them come up with, approaching something like Jack White if Jack White fell in love with The Experience instead of his Johnson. Amazingly, The Woods just picks up from there.
  32. Uncut
    80
    This isn't mere sonic overload; Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein's vocals are still towering. [Jun 2005, p.107]
  33. Under The Radar
    60
    The Woods feels almost nostalgic, exalting the era when noisemakers Nirvana, Sonic Youth, NIN, Fugazi and PJ Harvey were the touchstones of artistic merit. [#9]
  34. Previous albums have never quite captured those onstage moments when the power they generate seems to catch them unawares, but on The Woods you can hear not only the deliberation in Weiss's eyes as she ponders the exact placement of beat and crash, or Brownstein's bedroom-mirror rock-star poses, but also the stunned grin Tucker can never contain after emitting her most gravity-defiant shrieks.
  35. Although the album is definitely loud, it's also raw, with no hint of the symphonic, yet at the same time it's a melodic highlight of an honorably tuneful catalog.
User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 178 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 97 out of 125
  2. Negative: 18 out of 125
  1. Jan 6, 2016
    10
    I think 11 years on I can say its a classic record. S-K progressed with each album until they reached perfection with this and No Cities ToI think 11 years on I can say its a classic record. S-K progressed with each album until they reached perfection with this and No Cities To Love. Are they capable of making a less than perfect album anymore? Full Review »
  2. MikeL
    Feb 16, 2008
    10
    Amazing. Still an absolutely amazing record.
  3. Jan 15, 2015
    10
    Their most brutal album, by far, and yet what a wonderful pain it is. They were always so razor sharp, but this time, they've decided toTheir most brutal album, by far, and yet what a wonderful pain it is. They were always so razor sharp, but this time, they've decided to bludgeon and pulverize. Full Review »