Since forming in 2012 in the punk rock epicentre of the universe, Tunbridge Wells, Slaves have truly made their mark. The Mercury Prize nominated debut album Are You Satisfied? treated an army of music fans who were ready for something raunchier. The pair, who’s lyrics and beats are just as fiery as their public beef with genre aficionados Sleaford Mods, are back with their second offering, Take Control.
“Sucking on a sour sweet… SPIT IT OUT!”
In suitably Slaves style, the follow up to last year’s Are You Satisfied? promotes a metaphorical command of rebellion. Take Control progresses from the youthfulness debut, a heavier and distinctly driven record reflecting the world in which the Slaves machine evolves.
The unapologetically punchy “Spit It Out” is trademark Slaves. The Kent duo (Isaac Holman and Laurie Vincent), steered by Californian and former Beastie Boy Mike D, master the perfect opener with a catchy chorus and mosh-pit-ready drops. “Consume Or Be Consumed” is anthemic and angry, furiously infused with Isaac’s rap, a lyrical two fingers at the rulers. This sentiment rolls into the title track “Take Control”, an evident commentary on the current political environment.
The album is littered with skits, necessary to ensure each song remains it’s own entity without being lost in the record. The first being the fittingly unpolished “Mr Industry”, a throwback to the spoken word verse in “The Hunter”, before the cultish “Rich Man”. ‘Rich man, I’m not your b**ch man’ defiantly resists the pace of society, making clear Isaac and Laurie’s motives whilst providing an irresistible chant for festival crowds. “Play Dead” is an ironic awakening, climaxing to a pause preluding a sexy riff from Laurie.
“Lies” flirts with an indie rock vibe with a slightly more refined sound for the duo, boasting a lighter introduction, a welcome break before an eruption of the southern tongue. “Fuck The Hi Hat” resurrects an album that could be accused of repetitiveness. Joel from Wolf Alice helped out on the drumming in “People That You Meet”, a track which name checks the Beastie Boys, whose equipment was used in the recording of the album.
“Steer Clear” is a standout track with a more simplified and electronic back bone, intertwined with the romantic sound of a feminine voice contrasting the track’s dark monologue. “Angelica” and “STD’s / PHD’s” continues to play with a sound unlike Slaves, before “Same Again” concludes the record in predictable fashion, leaving the listener hanging before plunging back in.
STAND OUT TRACKS: SPIT IT OUT, RICH MAN AND TAKE CONTROL
A forceful reflection of the pair’s inner thoughts. The album offers a glimpse into different directions in style, which could offer the Slaves fan something else to obsess over in the future. Packed with catchy lines and riffs worthy of big crowds.