It’s always been difficult to fit Slothrust into any type of musical category. The trio’s early days seemed to be straight-forward grunge on the surface. However, when you dug a little deeper, it became obvious that all three members drew influences from wildly varied styles of music. Jazz-inspired drumbeats and swinging basslines helped drummer Will Gorin and bassist Kyle Bann gain notoriety as Brooklyn’s finest rhythm section. Leah Wellbaum’s vocals, guitar work, and lyricism attacked from all angles, one moment delicate, the other roaring.

Since those early days, Slothrust has left Brooklyn for the warmer climate of Los Angeles. As the trio continued to release music, each record marked a shift and maturation of their sound. Their 2018 record, The Pact, prominently featured keyboards. Songs like “Walk Away” and “On My Mind” slowed things down and made Wellbaum’s lyricism even more impactful. There was even a song with some horns to groove to. It marked an unwavering confidence to go new places and try new things with their sound.

On their first single since The Pact, “Cranium” marks another evolution. Greeted with heavy synth-bass and Wellbaum’s voice layered on itself, it’s startling how different it sounds. Wellbaum’s undeniable vocal delivery, which ranges from spoken-word whispers to chilling “oohs”, shows that “Cranium” is as fine of a track as anything the band has released so far. As the song progresses, it hits an incredible, trademark Slothrust ripper of a solo which benefits greatly from the slower pace of the track. Lyrically, it lives in an area between surreal and relatable. Wellbaum sings of her Grandma’s tweezers and celebrating a brain with an interesting cake. While metaphorically Wellbaum says “The song is about wanting to serve love but not knowing the ‘right’ way to do so — often offering too much, or something unwanted entirely”.

There is no word at the moment of a new Slothrust record. If there is one on the horizon, the direction taken on “Cranium” excites us. All of the ingredients that make Slothrust great are still present. The guitar solos, the surreal lyrics, the intricate drumming and bass. What they continue to do is add elements to keep their sound fresh, and create a diverse sound beyond those loud early days at Death By Audio in Brooklyn.

“Cranium” is out now on Dangerbird Records. Buy or Stream it here.

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