By Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)
Trying to catch lightning in a bottle seems to be an anomaly for a lot of up and coming groups: die the band who came out with an amazing EP and didn’t follow it up with anything or live long enough to see yourself become the act that waited half a decade to drop something lukewarm.
Norwegian indie rock outfit Slotface, stylised as Sløtface, are faced with this challenge upon the release of Try Not To Freak Out, an aptly titled record that is no doubt just as directed at themselves as it is their listeners. With a high octane 2016 that saw the band heralded in as one of DIY’s Class of 2017 as well as changing their name from SLUTFACE, R.I.P, the four-piece never seem to have been tempted to tap the brakes since their 2012 formation and thankfully, this same mantra is applied on their first full length album.
Right off the bat, the band seem to have a taste for giving the conventional indie rock tunes a new spin: Magazine kicks off the proceedings and on the surface, it’s a solid song revolving around a break-up that is cataclysmic to put it lightly. However, pull back the lyrical curtains and there’s the trademark feminism fuelled attitude of Slotface staring back at you, this track in particular taking digs at the media and the unrealistic representations of body image. It helps that Magazine radiates a garage punk meets pop vibe that results in more of a protest than a mopey musing.
Nancy Drew follows up this activist sentiment, using the titular female detective as an anarchist icon along with some snarly lines about her being a nightmare and threatening to take down your boy clubs down in one fell swoop. Haley Shea’s delivery on here, in addition to the grittier production, culminates in the proof of Slotface being a band with something to say, one that possesses the ability to make it sound amazing in the process.
The band are have some serious plans but that doesn’t mean they’re against just hitting out with a simple, fun anthem now and again. Pitted is the epitome of this, Shea throwing out an adolescent narrative about partying, drinking and the consequences, as well as the fun, it brings with it. Six tracks later and Slotface go further back into their childhood on Slumber, a host of references to 70’s and 80’s flicks used to describe a pleasant sleepover though with the foresight of adulthood bringing a melancholic vibe to it.
There are a whole host of indie bands around at the moment that try their hand at social commentary and while it should be encouraged, a lot seem to be repeating the same narratives and resulting in further adding to the blandness of the genre. Thankfully the rebellious tidings of Slotface, balanced by some care-free but equally fine tuned anthems, leaves their debut feeling like something important: it’s a cliche to constantly reference in reviews of our current political climate but Try Not To Freak Out shows that you can care about shit while also having a fucking good time in the process.