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CD of The Week

Week of 2/03/20

    Sløtface - Sorry For The Late Reply (Nettwerk)

    "Why be good enough when you could be a success?" explodes as an aggressive-yet-focused lyric kicking off Sløtface's (pronounced Slutface, as it was once written) sophomore album Sorry for the Late Reply. What could be interpreted as a motivational punk song, "S.U.C.C.E.S.S." instead deals with the frustrating idea that immigrants, women, and minorities must work harder for equality.

    Being from Norway, but born to American parents, singer Haley Shea has firsthand experience growing up an immigrant. "Passport," for example, shows Shea attempting to cope with conflicting principles. Knowing the United States' historically perceived ideologies, Shea is astonished and ashamed to witness its change to authoritarian concepts and general bigotry. She concedes "I'm more than my passport / But it's a part of me."

    Throughout Sorry for the Late Reply, the listener gets to look at current world and social topics through Shea's personal lens. "New Year, New Me" is a sobering, realistic look at failing to keep self-resolutions. The reflective ballad has Shea giving specific examples like "hoarding books I'll never read/making plans I'll never keep." "Stuff" is an anthemic driving break-up song, where Shea sums up a relationship by going through an inventory of specific-yet-relatable objects left over.  And "Sink or Swim" is a cry for environmental change using Shea's personal experience. Its dark, chugging guitars set a grave tone while Shea comments on plastic in the oceans and singing "This is not the fall I was expecting / It's too warm for October" with cautious alarm.

    While this record continues Sløtface's poppy punk style from the first record, Late Reply also shows growth and diversity. They still easily pull off the Blink-182/Paramore pop style in single "Telepathetic" and a driving power-pop lyrical rollercoaster with "Tap the Pack." But through their new creative process, their focus was to simplify things. They were also able to expand genres. "Crying in Amsterdam," is a typical buzzy, driving rocker, but they also recorded a withdrawn, intimate piano ballad reprise to end the record. At the other end of the spectrum, the television addicted "Static" shows their ability to play dark, aughts-style post-punk.

    Sløtface is not scheduled to tour the U.S. any time soon. So for now, perhaps until the political "shouts that make us shake our heads and feel powerless…stop flashing across our screens," we'll only have their album of anecdotal critiques to enjoy.

    Review by Shepard Ritzen

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