The first Slaves’ album had charm. Amongst its aggression was something fresh, quirky and enjoyable, which are all things that are hard to find in the new album. The record isn’t awful by any means, but it feels forced, from its title of Take Control to tracks like ‘Consume Or Be Consumed’, which sounds like a socialist anthem but entirely is unmemorable and has an even less memorable cameo from Mike D. (Beastie Boys).
The album is heavier than the duo’s previous effort, and sounds far more like traditional punk in many ways, although it is not the most enjoyable album to listen to; the lyrics try to sound clever without a whole heap of substance, and the instrumentals are collectively forgettable. There are moments within the album that stand out such as ‘F**k The Hi-Hat’ – an actual enjoyable forty-four seconds of unfiltered punk that doesn’t come across as being too politically try-hard.
Unfortunately for Slaves, for a political band they’re lyrically worse than Rage Against the Machine, and as a two–piece punk band they’re worse than Death From Above 1979, whilst being instrumentally worse than rock group Royal Blood. Of course Slaves aren’t trying to be these bands, but it’s hard to ignore than not only are their contemporaries doing everything they’re currently doing better, but even themselves they have created better music on their previous releases.
The album does have highlights such as single ‘Take Control’, which in many ways is the best of a bad bunch, as it is a simple punk song, still lacking in the humour of the album prior to it. However, it does have a bile and aggression that fans of the first album will enjoy and some may prefer.
The album clearly will divide previous fans, and certainly won’t be winning over Radio 1 listeners anytime soon, but it is clear that the band has not sold out at all.
(Take Control is out now)