They’re called Total Slacker, they’re from Brooklyn… Some say never judge a book by its cover, but right here you know what you’re getting before play is even pressed. Songs about thrift stores, VHS tapes, and Four Loko all make an appearance, but Thrashin’ is more than just a lo-fi stab at hipster nostalgia.
Buried under fuzzed guitar and a wall of cymbal haze are some very serious hooks. These are pop songs that mean business, and melodies that refuse to budge from the mind and tongue alike. Previous demo ‘Magical Date Night’ is all Happy Birthday choruses and laid back harmonies, while ‘Time Travelling High School Dropout’ plays like cheeky homage to Bill n Ted.
Recorded by Carlos Hernandez of AVA LUNA, the production on Thrashin’ bolsters the songs further, adding an air of retro without making it sound pastiche. Gone is any reference to the wimpy home recorded, instead we get a bass heavy, gloriously rounded, (whisper it) stereo sound. There’s even a little Geffen era Sonic Youth nestled in the guitar lines.
At times it’s difficult to know how tongue in cheek the lines about condos in Williamsburg, or Salvation Army stores really are. If the lyrics were read straight this album could double as a Hipster Runoff transcript, but it’s the musicianship here that keeps it on the right side of fun. Total Slacker are a band who refuse to take themselves too seriously, slicing their songs with yelps of joy, witty social commentary, and pop culture references.
Things take a turn for the odd on album closer ‘Koolz McRulez’, a ten minute long psyche wig out with little direction or evolution. It feels out of character and thin in comparison to the previous ten strong pop songs. Nonetheless, Thrashin’ is a sweet collection of tales and trials in guitar indie. It would be easy to lump or lose Total Slacker as another Brooklyn act with a distortion pedal and trust fund, but what lies in these eleven tracks is an album of carefully crafted slugging pop, regardless of what it says on the tin.