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Live review: Sløtface @ Elsewhere

Review by Albert Testani. Photos by Lauren Khalfayan, find more of her work here

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“Sløtface are solid.” Pretty much everyone in the venue murmured this at some point prior to them taking that stage. It was either to a friend, another concert goer, or to a documentary filmmaker who had been following the band around the US for the past two weeks and was interviewing members of the crowd.

Hailing from Norway, the punk band already gained buzz and a fan base with EP and single releases over the past few years, but the end of 2017 saw the release of their debut full length, Try Not to Freak Out.

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Once they took the stage, the band instantly got into your head and had the audience humming choruses to songs they just heard during set breaks. With a sound that’s an amalgam of every pop punk band from ten years ago, there’s an honesty and sincerity in their energy despite a lyrical awareness that borders on sugar coated kitsch.

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Though full of energy, and, like everyone already noted, incredibly tight in their performance, the start of the show had a rigidity that slowly transformed through the set from simple swaying and head nodding to lead singer, Haley Shea, thrashing on stage and embracing the house party feel of their records.

Yes, the references to High Fidelity‘s fictitious band, Sonic Death Monkey, in the song “Empire Records,” and the earnest evocation of Patti Smith in “Magazine” rally you to their cause and make you smile in recognition, but what’s most exciting about this band appears when you strip away the pop-culture references and hear their musical ambition.

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Over the course of the set they stretched the idea of a punk band from a four chord verse and chorus into a dozen sub genres and that’s what makes them the band you want to see every weekend, but, more importantly, in 5 years and after a few more records.

Playing tracks like “Slumber” and “Sun Bleached” are when Sløtface are at their best; analysis and embracing the minutia of their lives and making their music into something more worth connecting to than a film from 1995.

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