Boldy invigorating and effervescently spirited, Los Angeles indie-rock outfit Lady Sloth have shared their debut EP Forest Behind the Fog. A four-song collection that pairs the band’s love of driving rock sonics with lucid conversations about the personal turmoils of mental health. For the duo behind the songs Justina Shandler and Jon Lane, the purpose of their band in no uncertain terms has been to foster both compassion and validation amongst their listeners.
On the rousingly anthemic “Sugarloaf Mountain Road” they rail and rally against the ways we distort the past, hitching it all to a rollicking, no-breaks tale about returning home. While the soaring breathlessness of “Fences” captures the precariousness of building up barriers — and the fine line between healthily creating boundaries and closing yourself off.
Disguising their blistering angst under layers of enthused percussion, glowing instrumentation, and Shandler’s gleaming cries doesn’t make Lady Sloth’s cogent confessions about life’s various tolls any less moving. If anything it makes them all the more cathartically raucous. “The older I get / The more I’m in debt,” Shandler begins, tumbling through the laundry list of anxieties and ways she tries to alleviate them on “Head Game.”
As the album’s title might suggest, hope is a thing often elusive and ever hidden, but that doesn’t stop us from searching for it. But on its closing track “Freedom Bailey,” Lady Sloth is careful to remind us that it’s important to recognize exactly what kind of forest you pine for beyond the fog. Too many of us dream other people’s dreams and or aspire to their perceptions of happiness or success — “Still she rides / A train that’s driven by a ghost” — instead of taking the time to discover or foster such a vision within ourselves.
Lady Sloth offers on their first EP a roadmap of sorts — a quartet of songs to cling to when life’s journey gets turbulent. Their lyrically dense narratives even reflect some of the music that first united Shandler and Lane, back when they were living on opposite sides of the country. Bonding over the incisive poignancy of singer/songwriters like Phoebe Bridgers and the windingly intimate narrative of folk acts such as Dawes. Then one vacation day of songwriting and wine drinking in a hotel in Cambria, CA sealed the deal and Lady Sloth was born.
Words by Steven Ward
Listen to Forest Behind the Fog the new EP from Lady Sloth below!