Wingtip Sloat – If Only for the Hatchery

4 out of 5

Label: VHF Records

Produced by: Wingtip Sloat (?)

Oh, okay, early, offhand Pavement college rock sloppiness given a jolt of punk and post-rock intensity. Not bad, but I can probably ignore this; ’tis nothing new.

…And then after 13 songs of Wingtip Sloat’s casually geniused into existence mish-mash of If Only For the Hatchery, I’m still considering the album disposable, while completely caught up in its fractured pop, and hitting play to hear it again.

There’s a magic spell here: the songs are silly, and far away from delivering a straight 2- or 3-minute masterpiece, and yet there’s an odd sincerity – and sharpness to the playing and production – that belies the smirks and DIY style. It is disposable, and yet, I can’t say I can think of something that actually sounds exactly like this. The closest approximation would be Fuck – I’d say the groups are quite aligned in willfully standing outside of accessibility and easy labels – but their slocore bop is comparatively straightforward to Sloat, who halt in the midst of discordance for garage rock, then morph that into the sweetest and most rhythmic bit of shimmery pop, before the bass rears up and vocals again start to go nasal and shouty. That probably sounds messy, and if not for how committed the trio is to each moment of their songs, and at skillfully finding a way to keep a tune between each of those sections, it would be, but – yeah, it’s not. And to top that, I’d say the songs each maintain an identity, and feeling, despite the album as a whole skipping between all of these styles.

Perhaps notably, some of the longer tracks lose the thread a bit, with the 5 minute Monmouth a bit more stop-and-start than the shorter, more seamless tracks, and the group pushes on the aggression and angularness for closer Whynilla, and being relatively more straightforward indie rock, it’s maybe also the only non-purely Sloat-y track… though there’s also something fitting in that that’s how such an undefinable band closes this great album out.