“Patti Smith would never put up with this shit”.
No, she certainly wouldn’t but some deep-seated intuition tells me that neither would Haley Shea, the banshee-possessed mouthpiece of Sløtface, a band who have been keeping me company throughout the wet summer months. Hewn from the west coast of Norway, Stavanger to be precise, Try Not To Freak Out is that most joyous of musical experiences; an untamed romp through the sun-soaked folly of youth. It may not be original or imaginative but if you don’t come up for air with a smile on your face then your heart can only be made of larvikite (Google it!).
Sløtface (actually pronounced Slutface, but don’t tell your parents) offer up a no-nonsense collection of anthems for the optimistic before life wrings every last drop of positivity from their previously uncorrupted souls. Try Not To Freak Out returns to universal themes such as slumber parties, swimming with your best friends and playing drunken word games with your mates at parties you really didn’t want to attend. It’s a documentary about a period of their life that will soon become a distant memory, a series of anecdotes to recount once the crows feet and excessive ear hair start to appear.
I know we are deep into the cynical minefield that is 2017 and music journalism and subsequent commentary have become toxic depth-charges of hatred but occasionally it’s cathartic to bathe luxuriantly in the naivety of the past as viewed through the eyes of the future. ‘Pitted‘, ‘Magazine‘ and ‘Nancy Drew‘ are ideal introductions to the Sløtface manifesto, exuberant guitar riffs, pedal to the metal percussion and fist-thrusting vocals melded to create the latest in a very, VERY long line of shouty young people’s music. But guess what…like every generation before them, Sløtface manage to encapsulate what many of us need in a guitar driven pop song; energy, fun and wholehearted abandonment.
It would be easy to list the obvious references so let’s avoid them. Simply imagine every sweaty four piece you’ve ever seen in a basement toilet and then multiply that by Less Than Jake with a Scandinavian accent and you’ll see where Sløtface are heading. If ‘Sunbleached‘ doesn’t have you reaching for your Hoseasons holiday catalogue then i advise you to check your pulse. It’s the perfect bedrock to a swathe of TV montages and sporting triumphs, if only their label had released the album in May, as opposed to the fag end of yet another disappointing British Summer.
OK, let’s all be adult about Sløtface. Many of us have been here before. We have seen their likes a thousand times before, just different names with different accents and occasionally wilder haircuts than their predecessors. There are likely to be a legion of below-the-line keyboard warriors telling me how little I know and that Try Not To Freak Out is a rip off from <insert name of favourite 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s act> but frankly I don’t give a monkey’s chuff, this isn’t why we fought the punk wars. That Sløtface exist should be enough for us all, we need energetic shouty young people to form bands, create catchy riffs and remind us all that we were all young once. Try Not To Freak is no masterpiece but it’s their masterpiece and quite frankly that should be sufficient for us all.
Oh and they’re right, Patti Smith would never put up with this shit.