Laura MacFarlane, the original drummer in Sleater-Kinney, had come to the attention of that group’s two other founders, in part, from playing in various bands in Australia. After leaving Sleater-Kinney, she returned to her home base of Melbourne and released 99, her first solo album. It’s a small, charming disc, under a half-hour long, with 11 songs recorded almost entirely on her own. As it turns out, she’s a terrific, terse songwriter (she’d written a couple of songs on the first two S-K albums), with a real sensitivity to melody — “I Am Not American” has a hovering synth line that is actively gorgeous — as well as the confident bash you’d expect. Lyrically, her anger is tempered by understanding — “Popemobile” is a song about organized religion that acknowledges its comforts.
MacFarlane has since assembled a full-time group and has toured and recorded extensively.