In their fourth studio album in just six years, garage-rock trio Slothrust give listeners a confident, rollocking addition to their already impressive discography on The Pact. Leah Wellbaum’s bold vocals and soaring lead guitar are perfectly complemented by bassist Kyle Bann and drummer Will Gorin, crafting an album that hones and builds upon the firepower of previous albums. Slothrust experimented with their traditionally gritty and distorted sound, giving fans a different, yet welcoming album that pushes the band to unfamiliar sonic territory.
Several tracks on the album such as “Planetarium” and “Fever Dogs” follow a more conventional recipe for Wellbaum and Slothrust with gritty, soaring guitar accentuated by punching bass and percussion. Longtime fans will feel immediately at home with these tracks, but Slothrust accomplished other sounds with just as much success on The Pact. Wellbaum and company fully embraced downtempo, ballad-style songs that they briefly explored in past albums, namely 2013’s Of Course You Do. However, this time around they fully commit to their softer side on songs such as “The Haunting” and “Travel Bug.” Although these tracks lack the distorted, booming guitar that Slothrust normally relies on, Wellbaum’s powerful voice and skillful lead guitar carry these songs to new and exciting places for the band.
This dynamic sound is matched in the album’s lyrical variety; lead track “Double Down” gives us a self-assured Wellbaum, whose swaggering lyrics assert “I do what I want, I say what I want, I wear what I want” overlayed an equally confident bassline. Later in the album, the listener is introduced to a more vulnerable side of the lead singer. In the track “On My MInd” Wellbaum longs for a past relationship and the feelings it gave her. She reluctantly laments “I thought that time would make things fade away, but today I’m thinking about way back when,” over muted percussion and wandering saxophone. This side of Wellbaum and Slothrust is less familiar to the band’s longtime fans, but this exploration of new sounds was a successful venture. The Pact, although composed of varying song styles, is a well-rounded and cohesive album that leaves a promising future for the Boston trio and its fans.
Recommended If You Like: Chastity Belt, Cloud Nothings, Hop Along, Radiator Hospital
Recommended Tracks: 9 (Fever Doggs), 3 (Planetarium), 10 (On My Mind)
Do Not Play: N/A
Written by Kade Schoenfeldt on 09/26/2018