Album Review: Sløtface – Try Not to Freak Out

By on Monday, 18th September 2017 at 12:00 pm
 

Slotface album coverAfter releasing a pretty damn good arsenal of EPs and singles, it seemed as if Sløtface could do no wrong. That thought continues onwards with their first full length. The debut from Norway’s finest new punk band has a sound that you need to wrap your ears around as soon as possible because with hooks this catchy, and lyrics this quotable, there’s no reason they can’t take over the world. A brand new arsenal of tracks ready to earworm their way into your head and heart, ‘Try Not to Freak Out’ is pop punk in its newest form.

The best part about Sløtface is that they’re not afraid of ruffling a few feathers. They kick straight in with ‘Magazine’ and a rapturous chorus of “Patti Smith never put up with this shit”. Being compared to similarly aged models on magazine covers doesn’t sit right with lead singer Haley Shea, and quite rightly so. The euphoric and downright catchy refrain makes sure her message remains engrained. Follow-up ‘Galaxies’ stays away from societal righting and instead plays to its strength, the impossibly hooky chorus, proving that you don’t always need to be attacking to be punk. The same happens with ‘Pitted’, which celebrates partying with your friends over all else. It’s rather apt that Sløtface sing about partying with your friends when all you want to do once you hear the track is grab a couple of drinks and have a good time.

‘Sunbleached’ once again refers to social gathering, but with a more reminiscent mode, a staple of pop punk. The chorus nod to Ryan Adams with “Come pick me up, ‘Heartbreaker’ on repeat” just about had this writer in complete fangirl mode. Sløtface have a gift for bringing popular culture to a relatable level where you find yourself more involved than the melodies already have you.

If you’re a fan of pop punk, right now you’re having a great time. Having less targeted motives, the tracks are more celebratory of life, and just having fun such as continued on ‘Pools’. Continuing this trend ‘Night Guilt’ has a ferocious funk to it that’s heightened by the repetitive riff throughout and lyrics about owing money to people. Not on a loan shark level; they’re kids, after all. If you’re a fan of Sløtface’s previous output, you might be wondering where the statements against sexism et al. are, which is a fair question, but sometimes music can just be about a good time.

One of the harder cuts off the album, ‘Nancy Drew’, holds an immediate urgency, quite fitting considering it appears to concern taking down the male-dominated songwriter world with the aptitude of Nancy Drew (the protagonist of a detective boardgame, for those of you out of the loop just as I was). Filled with the spit that you know and love of Sløtface. (Note: As Editor Mary previously noted, Nancy Drew is the famed protagonist of an eponymous youth detective book series. -CC)

The final three tracks are a change in pace from the rest of the album. ‘Slumber’ holds an innocence just like sleeping in those cold Norwegian nights with your friends, soundtracked by the longest cut on the record. The song culminates in a beautiful crescendo that laments friendship and life, and you can’t help but fall a little but more in love with Sløtface. ‘It’s Coming to a Point’ may be studio talk for 19 seconds, but its inclusion refers to far more. Almost literally just the title spoken by frontwoman Shea, it feels daggered toward the world rather than studio play, though I may be reading far more into this than necessary. Either way, it brings Sløtface to a human end before the finale, the rebellion-filled ‘Backyard’. Another celebratory tune filled with references to exploring places you shouldn’t, it perfectly sums up ‘Try Not to Freak Out’.

The message here is simple, but straightforward: take the time to listen to your favourite songs with your friends because you don’t know when this shitty world could take it from you. If you want the more targeted Sløtface, head back to their earlier releases. This time around it’s about celebrating, because life is all too short, and celebrating never sounded so good.

9/10

‘Try Not To Freak Out’ the debut album from Sløtface is out now on Propeller Recordings. You can read previous coverage of Sløtface on There Goes The Fear here.

Contributor Carrie Clancy edited this review.

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We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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