Sløtface: Try Not to Freak Out – Album Review

Matt Latham reviews the debut Slotface album...

Label: Propeller Recordings

Tracks: 11

Sløtface (pronounced like the original spelling “Slutface” but changed due to “social media censorship”) are a bit peeved off at the world and they want to tell you all about it via the medium of punk music. Not the most original of openings, I’ll grant you, but Sløtface have put as much effort into causes other than music as they do *into* their music. They have a strong activist and feminist message that’s apparent throughout most of their songs and their name is a deliberate contrast to this as well.

Their debut album, “Try Not to Freak Out” is a culmination of five years worth of songs and their own activism. Its songs provide commentary on several different issues: gender inequality, politics, social expectations and music to name a few. Again, it feels as if there’s nothing new that stands out, so why in the bluest hell of hells is this album one of the best ones to be released in 2017?

Because the songs are just so darned good. They’re catchy, have memorable hooks and it all just feels like a great package of tunes. The MVP of Sløtface is the combination of vocalist Haley Shea’s delivery and lyrics. The fact they’re Norwegian gives her accent a lovely sound to it (and as someone who went through a phase of listening to Scandinavian bands a decade ago, I love this), and there are some great melodies when the songs get sung rather than shouted. The lyrics are the other decisive factor.

The lyrics on this album are brilliant. From the outset you have your usual take of “young people are annoyed”, but when you get to actually look at the lyrics – you have songs that are full of some golden lines. Shea has an uncanny ability to be able to get to the point very quickly and portray images and stories in the shortest time possible while making it look extremely easy. You could take a lot of these lyrics out of these songs, place them out of context of the rest of the track and they would still sound cool.

“Pitted”, a song about those nights out where you went out against your better judgement, is jam packed full of lines like this. In fact, “Pitted” could very well be one of the best songs this year, filled with quick one-liners that provide images of relatable party madness. Every line stands out on it’s own yet also sets up the next lyric before a great sing-along chorus. To list more would just make this a transcription of lyrics for the whole album, but “Nancy Drew” has a similar set-up, taking aim at the gender politics of the music industry.

At 32 minutes long, the album is short and punchy and doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. There are no duds on this album, and further highlights include “Magazine”, “Pools” and “Try”. That’s not to sell out any of the other songs short, however. They all have their own cool moments of awesomeness, introspection and clear message they want to convey.

“Try Not to Freak Out” is a great way to spend half an hour.

Slotface: Try Not to Freak Out is available now.

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