SLØTFACE has returned from the mythical Norwegian realm to deliver more pop-punk energy on the Empire Records EP. Following up mere months after their Sponge State EP, Sløtface provides another bite-sized sample of their brash-yet-slick sound. Sometimes with a dash of 90s nostalgia.
You pick up the sense of nostalgia from the album’s title and Lomography-inspired cover art. Vibrant roses recall the opening frame from David Lynch’s Blue Velvet. Meanwhile, on the single ‘Empire Records,’ Haley Shea dives headlong into her 90s memories. (‘I’ll find my way to Empire Records / Liv is waiting there for me / Championship vinyl will always have me / And I’ll play bass for Sonic Death Monkey’.) The track succinctly sums up the album’s themes and vibe.
Opener ‘Bright Lights’ might be the slickest track Sløtface has released thus far. Synths, drums, vocals and reverbed guitars fill the space with assured clarity. The song itself could have easily been Empire Records’ lead single, complete with a catchy, 90s-style refrain (I need that bright light shining in my eyes / Take me away from the edge of the stage / Because I’m crushed, crushed, crushed / Because I’m crushed, crushed, crushed).
‘Take Me Dancing’ carries the momentum from the previous ‘Empire Records’ track, clocking in at a brisk two minutes and thirty-seven seconds. Through the pop-punk frenzy, Shea bluntly insists that her partner ‘be a man’ and show her a roaring good time. Don’t worry, she won’t ask why. Simple and to the point.
The closer ‘Fever Art’ slows things down, going for a post-punk sound reminiscent of Television – the opening riff bringing their classic ‘Marquee Moon’ track to mind. Shea is more demure here, recalling a once-forgotten love (Just thought I’d let you know / You slipped my mind / It’s cool, it’s fine / I really mean it this time). And through it all, the 90s tinge is still there. Cohesion, folks. A notable track for its shift in style and delivery.
Sløtface demonstrates a solid craft for songwriting and arrangement on Empire Records. Paired with Sponge State, there’s a unified cohesion with their established, well-honed sound and the subtle urge to venture into new territories. Empire Records is a step in the right direction, which will hopefully lead to more surprises in the future – no matter how nostalgic it gets.
Empire Records is available now via Propeller Recordings.
Catch SLØTFACE on tour at the dates below:
United States 2016
Thu, Dec 01 | Baby’s All Right, Brooklyn NY
Fri, Dec 02 | DC9 Nightclub, Washington DC
Sat, Dec 03 | Kung Fu Necktie, Philadelphia PA
Mon, Dec 05 | Schubas Tavern, Chicago IL
Wed, Dec 07 | Barboza, Seattle WA
Thu, Dec 08 | Mississippi Studios, Portland OR
Fri, Dec 09 | Rickshaw Stop, San Francisco CA
Sat, Dec 10 | Bootleg Theater, Los Angeles CA
United Kingdom 2017
Mon, Feb 13 | The Castle, Manchester
Tues, Feb 14 | Oporto, Leeds
Wed, Feb 15 | Nice N Sleazy, Glasgow
Fri, Feb 17 | Kamio, London
Sat, Feb 18 | Green Door Store, Brighton
January, 11-14 | Eurosonic Noorderslag, NL
March, 10-19 | SXSW, US
May, 18-20 | The Great Escape Festival, UK