Sloucher is good. Just good. The Seattle band plays crisply arranged and leisurely delivered rock music that fits into their city’s grunge tradition while attracting slacker rock comparisons. But unlike classic artists that garnered that description, like Pavement or Kurt Cobain, or even more contemporary acts like Sandy Alex G or Mac Demarco, Sloucher’s debut album, Be True, often comes off as uninspired and uneventful.
On Be True, out via Swoon Records, the quartet plays with a precise understanding of rock songwriting, within their niche of the genre at least. The songs are tight; the instruments leave space for each other, and vocalist Jay Clancy’s voice fits smoothly amidst it all. Though the melodic tendencies and lyrical rhythm become fairly repetitive throughout the album, hooks on tracks like “Complacent” and “Be True” still hit their mark and can hang around after the song has finished.
The substance behind those melodies doesn’t stumble but doesn’t particularly impress either. Clancy sticks with safe and unremarkable insights and observations, generally choosing shorter phrases and common words that don’t demand much attention from a listener.
The narrative on “Cloverdale” of a once cheap and accessible neighborhood developing to force out its inhabitants is a notable exception; the song also includes a lyrical anecdote about Clancy being compared to Cobain, further evidencing the bands admiration.
The album’s biggest success is delivering digestible and recognizable music fit to the rock genre. With lazy, post-grunge style, Sloucher eases through likeable songs. It’s often a much softer and more smoothed-over take on the genre that can feel lackluster in comparison, but the band reaches sizable peaks on “Perfect For You” and “Waiting To Start.”
If you’re a fan of traditional guitar rock, Be True makes a satisfying listen. The weakness is staying power. With their debut, Sloucher have delivered a satisfactory rock record but done little to distinguish themselves.