Jan 10, 2022
By Caleb Campbell
Photography by Leo Horton
The Slaps are a pastoral slacker pop trio, previously based out of Chicago but now spread between Chicago and Lexington, Kentucky. Since the trio met in 2016, they’ve been creating at a steady clip, working new material in Chicago clubs while releasing their 2017 record Susan’s Room and their 2019 EPs A and B. In recent years guitarist/vocalist Rand Kelly and bassist/vocalist Ramsey Bell returned to their homes in Kentucky, while drummer/vocalist Josh Resing stayed in Chicago, but the distance hasn’t dulled their creative spark.
Over the pandemic, the band have been putting together their newly announced LP, Tomato Tree, which the band sees as their first proper full-length album. Recorded at Chicago’s Pallet Sound, the album sees the band’s slowcore-tinged slacker pop expand in new directions, showcasing the band’s winding instrumental sprawl and effortless chemistry. The full album is out later this year, but along with announcing the record, the band have also shared its lead single, “It’s Dense,” premiering early with Under the Radar.
“It’s Dense” is one of several songs on the upcoming record that came together over the span of years, getting worked out onstage and in rehearsals before reaching its final form. Fittingly, the song itself similarly takes its time to reveal its full entrancing beauty. The hypnotic guitar lines that open the track lock into the airtight rhythm section, building the wiry tension to a fever pitch. As the track reaches its climax, it unfurls into a dense maze of guitar, propulsive basslines, and fractured soundscapes. The results are irresistible, with the band showcasing a sound that is more ambitious and fully realized than ever before.
Kelly says of the track, “‘It’s Dense’ was written in my bedroom in Kentucky in December 2019. The lyrics are reflections on the previous year, mostly having to do with living on the margins of being in and out of love and learning to build strength through independence. ‘A dead end is a way out’ is a line from Kentucky artist and musician Robert Beatty that resonated with my feelings at the time and offered solutions, both in the song and in waking life.”
Check out the song and video below, and look out for Tomato Tree, due out March 25.