Slothrust –– 'Parallel Timeline'
album art via bandcamp
Slothrust –– Parallel Timeline –– Dangerbird
I’ll argue that this is the most accessible that LA-alt-rockers Slothrust have sounded to date. Formed over a decade ago, Slothrust’s heavy and slightly-harder-than-pop-punk tendencies drew in many a listener. Parallel Timeline remains true to their early work while also heading in a generally more lustrous direction. The trio's risk-taking pays off on their fifth full-length album.
Though written mostly before the pandemic hit the U.S., Parallel Timeline broadens Slothrust’s sonic toolkit on account of singer/guitarist Leah Wellbaum, drummer Will Gorin and producer/bassist Kyle Bann incorporating new approaches to their production and processes. They’re so practiced at what they do that they’ve created a power-pop record, and a damn good one at that.
“Cranium” is a strong opener that largely sets the tone for the album. Repeating breathy backing bellows provide a bed for Wellbaum to intone celestially and stage-whisper questions for the chorus. The line “I want to buy your brain a cake and frost it with the cum of angels” is classic Slothrust. The back-half of the song features the guitar solo you'd anticipate from the first song on a Slothrust album. While "Cranium" is the longest song here, I don't feel as if a second is wasted.
The second track, “Once More For The Ocean”, employs sparse though interesting vocal modulation. Being one of the faster songs on the record, it’s almost hard to notice. The combination of solely Wellbaum’s voice and heavy reverb found on the bridge make for one of the prettiest moments on the album.
“The Next Curse” (featuring Lizzy Hale), is the heaviest track here. One of the funnest numbers on account of the dynamite riffs and screaming à la 2013’s “The Couch Incident”.
The sleek delivery of occult subject matter on “Strange Astrology” solidifies the album's other-worldly appeal.
“King Arthur’s Seat” and "Courtesy" feature more of the ghostly background vocals weaved throughout the album.
"A Giant Swallow" and "White Rabbit" are unique for the group's catalogue in that they utilize piano. The former has a rare acoustic moment before the piano and drums enter after ninety seconds. Midway-point “Waiting” is also a departure for Slothrust in its confined three-minute-pop structure and piano appendage.
The title-track and closer is one the strongest songs on the project. It features more of the acoustic picking that worked well on "A Giant Swallow", but is thankfully given greater breadth so that the vocals and acoustic guitair may shine in tandem.
In closing, Parallel Timeline is a very realized and intimate power-pop album that might just have a little something for everyone.
CHOICE CUTS: "Once More For The Ocean", "Courtesy", "The Next Curse" featuring Lizzy Hale, "Parallel Timeline"