It’s only been a little over a year since Kent two-piece Slaves released their debut full length album Are You Satisfied?, but it seems like Laurie and Isaac are set on taking over the world with their iconic grungy punk. Take Control, released on Friday, contains fourteen tracks interspersed with two skit tracks, which makes the record a solid little parcel jam packed with bangers. The album was introduced with the lead single Spit It Out: you can see the low-fi video here:
The album opens with the above track, followed by Hypnotised which keeps up the fast pace and crashing drums. Consume Or Be Consumed, featured on Thursday’s round-up of the month’s best singles, features slower, grungier guitars, additional keyboard effects which add something a bit special to the choruses, and quieter vocals rapped over the track, including a rap verse by Mike D. of Beastie Boys fame. Even within the first three songs of the album, it seems obvious to me that the punk duo have freed themselves from the constraints of more traditional old school punk, and allowed themselves to experiment a bit more with their sound. That’s a solid amount of development between records.
Lyrically the album discusses issues with tax fraud and classism within the upper classes in Rich Man, troubles in the romance department in Angelica, and dwelling on past mistakes in Spit It Out. There are also some lighthearted tracks such as Fuck The Hi-Hat, which at the end of the day are just a bit of fun. That’s one of the things I like about Slaves: by taking every day issues and coating them in unapologetically British punk and straightforward language, their music is something everybody can enjoy. Unless they’re not into punk music, I suppose.
Slaves have stretched their musical muscles during tracks such as the slower paced Lies, which is almost a ballad by their standards, and one of the longest songs on the record. Steer Clear also stands out with its electronic drums, synth-infused choruses and female backing vocals adding to the chilled vibe. In fact, much of the second half of the record is made up of slower tracks, which helps to demonstrate that these guys are nowhere near one trick ponies.
I was a little worried that Slaves would be one hit wonders, bursting onto the scene then slinking away as suddenly as they appeared. Thankfully, following this record it seems to me that the twosome are taking this music lark seriously, and I certainly hope that the band will be around for a long time. If you enjoyed Are You Satisfied?, then Take Control needs to be on your Christmas wish-list, or just go ahead and order it now if you don’t want to wait that long.
Highlights: Rich Man, Lies, People That You Meet, Same Again