by Conor Rooney (@sold_for_scrap)
For their first record in about three years, Los Angeles/Brooklyn based Slothrust return with another record carefully packed with clever, sassy and altogether gripping tracks that play into the bands collective affinity of guttural tones tinged with elements of blues and jazz. Building on many of the elements that formed the previous two records - Feels Your Pain and Of Course You Do, Everyone Else feels like a continuation of many of the themes that were prevalent on the previous records without losing any of their edge.
“I feel like a fetus / because my eyes are not open / and I don’t have fingernails / to claw my way out of anything / or anyone”
Slothrust have been at it for a few years (since 2010) and have been slowly amassing both a following and a reputation for their curious mix between blues, jazz and straight up grunge laced with cleverly dark, sometimes comical lyrics. Formed in college - members Leah Wellbaum, Kyle Bann and Will Gorin were all individually well versed in the aforementioned genres, so the decision to make music that sounds like this together was seemingly almost inevitable. With their first two records, Slothrust seem to have carved out this unique balance between deeply emotional lyrics and gritty-as-hell instrumentation (tracks like “The Couch Incident” and “Misnomer” are great examples). On this new record, Wellbaum looks to have attacked her songwriting in such a way that feels both serious and whimsical without losing any of the bite and sneer that was present on their earlier works.
Her deadpan vocal delivery somehow melds beautifully within the sinewy muscle of these tracks - melodies that dance around the rhythm section perfectly and become instant earworms. That’s pretty clear on the track “Pseudo Culture” (a song accentuated by pummeling rhythm and a dirty guitar melody) with the line “you’re immune to all my shit / but sometimes I feel like it still gets to you / do I get to you” spoken in a desperately taunting manner.
The singles leading up to the full release set a really good precedent for the rest of the record; “Horseshoe Crab,” released back in July, proved that the band was heading into more refined, mature and somewhat darker territory. It has a slow burn to start, but soon explodes into a bellowing howl that is by far one of the most dramatic moments on the record. Making some quick comparisons back to Of Course You Do – “Magnets Pt. 2” is the only other song I can think of that reached as high as this. Lyrically, “Horseshoe Crab” explores themes such as a detachment from everyday life, people and things: “Words make less sense to me these days / faces look flat and unfamiliar / do you want to rest forever? / underwater it gets better.”
Everyone Else seems like what the perfect Slothrust record would sound like. In it, they’ve successfully combined and refined all of their past influences and experiences into their most complex album yet. The songs here are each incredibly dynamic in their own way, and in peeling back the layers one can see just how much effort goes into developing a record like this. It is sassy grunge.