Slothrust, pronounced sloth-rust (a fact that, embarrassingly, I only find out tonight, even with the band being four albums deep) arrive on stage to an eager crowd at Deaf Institute. Their name is not the only aspect that has eluded being pinned down correctly, their sound can also be hard to articulate effectively. It is not just every album that defies classification, but they manage to provide a completely unique offering with every song. The latest album The Pact is no different in this trait. I am looking forward to hearing how these new songs are expressed tonight.

Front woman Leah Wellbaum provides an incredibly diverse range of guitar riffs right from the start, as well as a huge catalogue of quirky dance moves. She seems at home while playing music, and dances through the night like everyone would in their bedroom, even while flourishing killer guitar licks on tracks like ‘Like a Child Hiding Behind Your Tombstone’. However, the guitar is put down for ‘On My Mind.’ The grungy foundations that reside in many of the tracks are also put to one side as Leah sings from the heart and shows her great vocal talent. The powerful rendition brings Dido to mind and so still carries that slight 90’s revival feel that Slothrust seem to draw from.

‘Birthday Cake’ is filled with fun strumming guitars, providing an odd background to some dark and abusive lyricism: “You cut my hair off in my sleep and put it in the kitchen sink/I never thought it would happen to me”. Despite the dark content, the upbeat drums and dynamic guitar work has everyone from the stage to the tiered seating bobbing enthusiastically. The music of ‘Crockpot’ is more in line with its downcast sentimentality. With lyrics of loneliness and empty relationships, the crowd lap up every word and note delivered from the stage.

Album opener ‘Double Down’ is played late into the evening. An attitude laden cannon ball of a track, the transitions from weighty bass to lighter poppy verses remind me of Lewis Del Mar. It has great crowd appeal, with more than just the front row getting into the jumping spirit, but it’s the single ‘Peaches’ that really sends the crowd bouncing. A massive sound that fills the venue, its vibrant free-association lyrics resounding over Honeyblood-style alt rock musicianship.

Overall, it is bassist Kyle Ban that I can’t help but focus on the most throughout the set. His infectious smile, only partially concealed, emanates from behind nodding hair. The basslines provide interesting grooves to every track, without being overcomplicated. The riffs never slump to the background, they stand out while still cohesively meshing with the tight drums laid out by Will Gorin. You can hear the jazz training that each member has had in their earlier years as they flow together through the set. It is especially prominent in the blistering track ‘Planetarium’ adding a frenetic pace to the night. Altogether, Slothrust have put on a brilliant show full of warm distorted guitars and danceable riffs, a perfect way to heat up a cold January evening.

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