Enigmatic punk-revival duo Slaves stormed onto the mainstream scene last year with their debut album ‘Are You Satisfied?’. Laden with dirty, hard-hitting riffs and ferocious, no holds barred performances, the duo’s debut turned many heads and ultimately earned them a nomination for BBC’s Sound of 2015 award. Hot on the heels of their successful debut and extensive touring, the duo drop ‘Take Control’, a record that furthers their dissection of societal issues, whilst serving up a few musical curveballs along the way.
The boys enslave former-Beastie Boy Michael “Mike D” Diamond for his producing abilities and musical influence, which evidently rubs off on the band in a few spots. For the most-part, Slaves’ already established brand of raw and fiery punk-rock is still prominent in cuts ‘Spit It Out’, ‘Hypnotised’ & ‘Same Again’.
Among these straight-forward, punky flashes are slow-burning chuggers, such as ‘Consume Or Be Consumed’ featuring guest vocals from the producer himself as well as ‘People That You Meet’ which stumbles along with a jagged riff accompanying Isaac Holman’s monologue about “a dirty bloke called Terry”.
The musical mix-ups prove to be plentiful; ‘Lies’ glides along smoothly, guided by Laurie Vincent’s bright classic-rock refrain and Holman’s calculated vocals. The most significant influence from producer “Mike D” comes in the shape of ‘STD’s / PHD’s’, with a heavy-fuzz guitar synth melody dominating the mix. In a similar vein, ‘Steer Clear’ is driven by synthetic drums and a refreshingly hazy, new wave-esque chorus synth.
These fresh musical explorations are heightened by the lads’ persistent views on a flawed society, claiming their aim is “to inspire people to have an opinion” and for them to stand up to the “man”. The duo’s famous brand of humour is dotted throughout, most notably in a couple of intermissive skits and the savage punk stormer ‘F**k the Hi-Hat’ where stand-up drummer Holman rants about not needing a hi-hat, savagely beating on his drum skins in the process to prove his point.
To the hardcore punk fan, ‘Take Control’ may seem a step backward and disappointment on the band’s behalf, however the experimentation within new genres outside their simple punk sound is commendable, especially when it is pulled off as good as this.
Essential tracks: Spit It Out // Lies // Steer Clear