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Album #26: Sløtface – Sorry for the Late Reply

  • Released: 2020
  • Origin: Stavanger, Norway
  • Label: Propeller
  • Best Track: Passport

It’s another New Music Friday, and I’m in for a bit of a pop-punk marathon today, starting with this second album from these Nordic whippersnappers.

Sorry for the Late Reply comes three years after the four-piece’s debut Try Not to Freak Out. That album was a highly rewarding blast of youth and rebelliousness, even if I couldn’t help feeling a bit too old for songs about playing ‘I Have Never’ with Prosecco, dancing to ‘Queen B’ and sleepovers. Having said that, ‘Slumber‘ was probably my favourite track off it – I saw it as a sad and nostalgic coming-of-age song, featuring movingly tender boy/girl vocal exchanges.

So, I’m a bit unsure what to hope for here. Do I want them to “mature”, or would I rather they stuck to what they did pretty well on their debut? The good news is that even if I didn’t know what I wanted, the band seemed to. This is a stonking second album that races straight to the top of my early ‘Albums of 2020’ list.

First thing to clear up, having said a couple of times on this blog that I hate it when foreign bands try to sing in English, Sløtface prove to be the contradiction. Outside of their native tongue, they master wordplay (‘Telepathetic’), humour and convincing arguments, all while making solid pop-punk tunes. I suppose it’s just another reminder of how embarrassingly proficient young Scandanavians usually are in our language.

Song topics do feel a bit more “grown-up” as well. Opener ‘S.U.C.C.E.S.S’ has a raw shoutiness above anything on the previous album, ‘Sink of Swim’ eloquently addresses climate change, while ‘Passport’ has a bit of a C86, jangle-pop vibe. The lyrics in that song seem to be expressing disillusionment at the direction of world politics, and the line ‘I’m more than my passport, but it’s a part of me’ seems fitting on this pretty shitty (in my opinion) day in British history. Of course, Norway has always dodged the EU, but at least they’ve done it with quiet dignity over there.

‘Tap the Pack’ is another highlight with a really fuzzy, garagey sound, while ‘Static’ is undoubtedly a pop song, not unlike something I could imagine Lady Gaga or Katy Perry doing. That’s not a criticism, by the way!

This is a triumph and exactly what a second album should be – developing the sound of the first and expanding it, without losing what made it work in the first place.

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