Norwegian punks Sl0tface have already marked themselves as one of our favourite new bands of the year and ‘Sponge State’ is an EP that has been eagerly awaited by so many. No one will be disappointed.
The EP opens with ‘Get My Own’, a refreshing blast of indie-rock that has the potential to be a feminist anthem that combines elements of Tegan and Sara with Nordic pop tendencies a la Team Me. There are group-chanted backing vocals as they state ‘We refuse to be scared to walk home alone’ and how ‘I can’t spend any more time, any more time here in the dark’. Following this is the earworm ‘Kill ‘em with Kindness’, an eminently danceable song that rants about how so much of today’s music industry (and general society) is about style over substance. Over Cribs-esque guitars, Haley Shea sings about how ‘good stories sell more than will ever do’, ‘you’ve seen it all before, Madonnas of the world’ and finally how ‘Time magazine says it’s your thing’.
The title track follows and this is a song that has not only musical elements of the Manics but also the same bullish attitude: ‘I put my headphones on, you see me putting up a fight’. Full of spirit, it features contemporary references regarding Bon Iver and his real name. There’s also a discussion of how many people will watch old charity compilations like Live Aid and wonder how many musicians are still alive, rather than the real issues at stake. The closing song on the all-too brief EP is ‘Shave My Head’. Opening in an oddball pop style akin to Super Furry Animals, it has the eye-opening first line of ‘I could shave my head for you’ before than showing the importance of independence: ‘I could beg you not to leave, have you call me on the hour and feign heartbreak every time you leave the room, but that all seems like so much work to me and I’m sorry, man, I guess that I would rather just be lazy’. It finishes with a repeated refrain of ‘I’d never shave my head for you’ in-between some glorious hooks. This is an EP you’ll be returning to again and again.