Lead single Telepathetic is a kindly pep talk to not sink into inertia while you’re ‘begging for something exciting to happen’, as Tor-Arne Vikingstad’s spiky guitar applies 1,000 volts of fuzz to the listener’s cerebellum. On the flipside, New Year, New Me is still kicking around the house in pyjamas. ‘Keep hoarding books I’ll never read / Making plans I’ll never keep,’ Haley croons over heavy-lidded bass and dreamy guitar, facing up to the ‘live your best life’ rhetoric with self-awareness. Such internal conflicts abound, while looking outside, as they do on Passport, reveals ‘This bigotry / That keeps flashing across our screens’.
Amid the confusion, Sink Or Swim is the album’s heart. What starts with relationships freezing over quickly widens in scope to include melting ice caps. Haley sings, ‘I keep seeing my grandchildren die / But I can’t seem to turn the lights off’. As the tide of echoing guitars and emotional turbulence swells around her, she concludes with a realisation: ‘It’s not politics, it’s sink or swim’.
Here, for Sløtface the personal is political, and individual conflicts are really shared struggles. It’s this core empathy – and a knack for writing tunes catchy on a pandemic scale – which makes the band so relatable. Arriving just at the right time for its message to feel truly resonant, Sorry For The Late Reply is a bold, brave, brilliant work.