The wait has been long, but the sophomore record of Norwegian pop punk band Sløtface is finally out. Since it has already been over a week since the release, and we have all had the chance to listen to it on loop, I think it is high time we dived deep into it.
‘Sorry for the late Reply’ starts off with a loud, angry assertion of the rights of immigrants, and the pressure put on fleeing people to represent their countries and not only to be good citizens but the best. Bassist Lasse Lokøy delivers a catchy, simple line in ‘S.U.C.CE.S.S.’ which the narrative is presented. The aforementioned theme is repeated in the seventh track ‘Passport,’ which reflects on national identity, xenophobia, the struggles and contradictions of these feelings; “I’m more than a passport, but it is part of me.”
The second single off the album is ‘Telepathetic,’ a personal favourite of mine. This song is a fun derision at routine and being so absorbed by its disinterest that you just wait for better things to come. It is real, and to some extent cruel, yet paradoxically joyful in its sound. The pop punk melodies performed by the dirty licks of Vikingstad’s guitar and the pristine voice of Haley Shea complement each other just perfectly. The following track, ‘Stuff,’ carries on with the general vibe and presents (in a very radio friendly way) a break up story and the moment of having to go and collect your stuff from your ex’s.
Another personal favourite off their second album is ‘Luminous.’ This track was not released as one of the five singles, and while the reasons behind the decision can been understood, it is still surprising. The tune has also become the most streamed song off the album to date. It displays a much quieter, intimate side of the band, all based on a beautiful riff that will remain in your head for days. Similarly, ‘New York, new me’ is a huge contrast along with upbeat tracks such as ‘Tap the Pack’ and ‘Static.’
The sixth song is rather melancholic and introspective, and reflects on the disappointing nature of resolutions. The second half of the album can certainly feel a bit less cohesive than the first half. Other songs on the album includes: the experimental ‘Laughing at Funerals,’ which employs a variety of different arrangements and sounds on guitar and synths, and the last single, ‘Sink or Swim,’ with the theme being strong environmentalist content, preceded by an instrumental build up homonymous to the record.
However, I want to bring attention to ‘Crying in Amsterdam,’ both the first version and the reprise that closes the album. While the first one is fast and full of fuzzy guitars and bears resemblance to a Yeah Yeah Yeahs tune, the reprise is a raw beautiful piano ballad. And the lyrics in both cases are just devastating. Being away when there is bad news back home is such a terrible experience. There is sorrow, guilt and loneliness. Sløtface shows how these emotions can be catalysed into art, via rage or softness. The reprise version is just painfully sad, and manages to finish off the album in a way that no other punk tunes I’ve listened to have done.
Overall, the anticipated follow up to ‘Try not to Freak Out’ turns out to be a great album. Despite some issues relating to cohesiveness, the album flows from good song to good song. While the punk or upbeat tracks are punchy and effective, particularly the singles, it is the quieter songs on the album that show the quality of the band. We already knew Sløtface’s talent to make us jump and dance around and the wittiness of their political lyrics. However, it is this new introspective, vulnerable side that makes this album memorable. I’m really looking forward to hearing whatever they will surprise us with next.