Slothrust have announced their highly anticipated fifth album, Parallel Timeline, due out September 10, 2021 via Dangerbird Records. Today, the band have also shared the new single ‘Strange Astrology’, along with a fun and fruity video that’s as much a celebration of the cosmic make-up of romantic relationships as it is a love letter to LGBTQ+ culture. Slothrust bandleader Leah Wellbaum pours her gigantic, golden sunshine Leo heart into the lyrics, “and I don’t mind / our strange astrology / I hope we find / you bring the best out in me.” Describing the single, Wellbaum says:
“’Strange Astrology’ is one of the only proper love songs I have ever written. It’s an honest exploration of what it means to love someone who is intrinsically different than you. It’s about hoping that those juxtaposing qualities and instincts encourage meaningful growth instead of chaos, but knowing that inevitably it will always be a bit of both. That is part of the fun of being in love with someone whose way of being starkly contrasts yours. I have always been fascinated by those differences and all the adventures and new perspectives they offer.”
The ‘Strange Astrology’ video opens with Wellbaum in the centre of a zodiac wheel of fruit, covered with grapes, oranges and blackberries. Moving onto a chair, with a moon projected behind her, she rolls the soft skin of the grapes on her face, then stands up to shake out her overalls as more grapes fall to the floor. A pile of melons, apples, bananas, oranges on the floor get rolled, rubbed, pushed and danced with, and she plays and prods – raspberries get stuck on her fingers, strawberries get placed into lemons, papayas get squished and then a perfect slice of dragon fruit is held up where the moon projection once was, mirroring the night sky and all its mysterious constellations. On the video, Wellbaum says:
“The music video for ‘Strange Astrology’ explores an idea I’ve always been fascinated by, which is: where do I end and you begin? We chose fruit to explore this theme because, in the moments where I find myself caught in a loop of existential dread, fruit has been a surprisingly grounding force. In a world with so much perceived chaos, fruit anchors me in a reality where all is intentional and perfect as is. It offers truly wild colours and has shockingly well-organised insides. Fruit is an epic sensory experience and full of surprises. Sometimes when I think about fruit, the presence of the void falls away and all is exactly as it is meant to be. In many ways, love and intimacy are mirrors of that experience. Also, the world needs more gay anthems about astrological connection and I am happy to provide that.”
This theme of grounding and acceptance amid uncontrollable forces because there is a desire to serve love, however imperfect and messy that may be, was introduced in the band’s sweet medicine single and video for
With scores of viable candidates stepping up to claim the mantle of the Very Saddest Girl In Rock, Wellbaum’s many skills are put to much better use in other pursuits, and with ‘Strange Astrology’ we get an even deeper look has to how she pulls off getting deep while still keeping her head above water. She sings, “If you believe in miracles / So would I / But as a Libra moon / I keep it so satirical,” in a lighthearted plea for connection, and continues “I like those flowers / And I like that vase / The way you combine them / Your sense of colour / Comes from outer space / We could never align them.” There is awe and room in her heart for imperfection, and that is what makes love worth having. Surrender becomes soft and sweet, even magical.
The new album vividly captures Wellbaum’s powerful voice as a songwriter, lyricist and guitar player and demonstrates an intellectual curiosity and emotional confidence that has deepened in scope as the band’s profile has steadily risen. With bandmates Will Gorin (drums) and Kyle Bann (bass) rounding out the trio’s essential framework, Wellbaum’s quirky visual and tactile inspirations come to life. Complex, drenched in honey, sweet, uncomfortable and as wild and chaotic as love is, there is beauty and wonder that’s rainbow bright. Every feeling and every colour in nature are welcome in the world of Slothrust and get to exist in their Parallel Timeline.
Tracklisting for Parallel Timeline
02. Once More For The Ocean
04. The Next Curse
05. Strange Astrology
07. King Arthur’s Seat
08. A Giant Swallow
09. White Rabbits
10. Parallel Timeline