Norway isn’t the first place that comes to mind when thinking of sun-kissed pop-punk, but that’s exactly where Sløtface hail from. Forming in 2012 after discovering a shared love of British ‘00s indie bands, the four-piece have gone from strength to strength over the course of a liberal smattering of singles and EPs, making a name for themselves as much for their outspoken feminism and liberal attitude as their upbeat indie-pop-punk.
‘Try Not to Freak Out’, the band’s debut LP, as one might expect, is littered liberally with references to feminism and gender equality, but is also hinged on twenty-something anxieties experienced universally. Tracks such as ‘Magazine’ see bandleader Haley Shea laughing at the absurdity of body image standards, while knowingly wanting to conform to them, while ‘Sun Bleached’ relishes the first days of summer, and the promise that brings as a young adult; something made all the more appealing after a long, Scandinavian winter. Conversely, ‘Slumber’ approaches things from the opposite end of the spectrum, looking back somewhat despondently to childhood sleepovers, lamenting the fact we’ll “never have friends like these again”.
Despite self-doubt playing such a prevalent part, ‘Try Not to Freak Out’, is a bold, confident record that doesn’t shy from occasional moments of tenderness. Drawing to mind the likes of Trust Fund or Los Campesinos!, as well as heavier bands such as Diet Cig or Kamikaze Girls, Sløtface present an effortless balance of snarling punk ethos and indie-pop insecurity. It’s both endearing and invigorating, proving they’re a band with a message, but on this occasion, that doesn’t equate to preaching it.
That isn’t to say Sløtface lack conviction. Far from it. Tracks such as ‘Nancy Drew’ blister with a rawness and an attitude that’s difficult not pay attention to. But at only just in their twenties, they’re still wracked with as much uncertain as they self-assure; a dichotomy conveyed perfectly across ‘Try Not to Freak Out’, and something which makes the record both ballsy, and utterly irresistable.
Words: Dave Beech
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