Review: The Julie Ruin – Hit Reset



3.5 OUT OF 5 NUTS!

thejulieruin-hitresetJulie Ruin bandleader Kathleen Hanna is an actual, living rock icon. With the seminal 90’s act Bikini Kill, she revolutionized female-centric hardcore music and more or less created the “riot grrrl” movement. Hanna was also deeply ingrained in the Seattle-area grunge/alternative scene, and there is an apocryphal story that suggests she may have actually coined the phrase “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” 

After Bikini Kill split up, Hanna formed the electro-pop trio Le Tigre, which toned down the punk aspect but doubled down on the radical feminist lyrical ideas. More recently, Hanna has devoted her time to The Julie Ruin, a band that seems to combine both of her old groups into one coherent mass. At least, most of the time. Hit Resetthe group’s sophomore album, is a fast and frenetic affair that occasionally suffers from multiple-personality disorder. The group certainly doesn’t want for influences and ideas. “I Decide” throbs with a pulsing energy that suggests the rhythms of dance punk, while “Be Nice” has more of a droning, kraut-rock feel. Many different styles are attempted on this record, and for every one that doesn’t fully take off ( the closing ballad, “Calverton” doesn’t quite work for me), there’s a new one just around the corner (The girl-group-inspired “Better Not” is one of many highlights).

Ultimately, Kathleen Hanna is a singular voice in both feminism and alternative rock, and her enormous talent will shine through in almost any medium. Hit Reset is a firmly solid affirmation that Hanna’s not out of ideas yet. In fact, the record demonstrates quite the opposite. Despite its shortcomings, the album remains fun and engaging through multiple listens. I think an element of focus would really take The Julie Ruin’s subsequent offerings to new heights.

Sponsored link (story continues below)

However, when you have perfect tracks like “Hello Trust No One,” you realize just how close this group is to greatness. I suppose the future will reveal all, but Hanna’s accrued so much goodwill and credibility by this point that I’m willing to give her a little more time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *