(Image Source: faroutmagazine)
After the success of their debut full length album Are You Satisfied? last year, the Kent based punk duo Slaves have recently released their second album Take Control. Take Control builds upon Slaves’ heavy punk sound established in Are You Satisfied? but also features a number of, what can only be described as, experimental aspects like Steer Clear, which boasts a chilled out indie vibe courtesy of Baxter Dury.
Take Control follows on from Are You Satisfied?‘s outlook on society with many of the album’s tracks commenting on various ways of life; like the life of the rich in Rich Man, the pressures of everyday life in Steer Clear and the social interactions of everyday life in People That You Meet. Slaves masterfully tackle a number of social issues across the 16 track album, even if some of the lyrics take a slightly weird turn… (listen to Consume or Be Consumed or People That You Meet and you’ll understand…)
In terms of the tracks themselves, Take Control starts off with the loud vocals and heavy punk that Slaves are associated with through the opening tracks Spit It Out and Hypnotised. Things are then toned down slightly in Consume or Be Consumed and we see a hint of a different side of Slaves that was otherwise hidden in Are You Satisfied? before picking up again in Take Control. Play Dead feels like an amalgamation of Despair and Traffic and Wow!!!7am from Are You Satisfied? by using a similar vocal style to Despair and Traffic through alternate vocals and a slowed guitar rift similar to that of Wow!!!7am. Lies, Rich Man and People That You Meet have a familiar vibe to them, a relaxed punk sound that builds in the chorus, but they don’t make too much of an impression either way.
Things start to get interesting with Steer Clear and this is where we really see the experimental side of Take Control. It has a chilled out indie feel that you would never normally associate with Slaves, it somehow reminds me of The Ting Tings but I can’t for the life of me think of why… Cold Hard Floor can only be described as a filler track with no real impact on the album, perhaps only there to break up the two experimental tracks? Further experimentation can be seen in STD’s / PHD’s through the use of electronic aspects and due to the success of Control earlier this year, the Chase & Status and Slaves collaboration, this is an area I feel Slaves could do more with in the future. After a relaxed track called Angelica, the album finishes more on the lines of what you would expect from the two-piece with Same Again.
Take Control wasn’t exactly what I expected after the impact of Are You Satisfied? but it’s good to see that Slaves are experimenting in different areas. The tracks may not all be chart toppers but there is enough promise to see future work in the indie/electronic fields. Take Control has enough emphasis and raw sound to please fans of hardcore/heavy punk who enjoyed Are You Satisfied? as well as a number of “softer”, relaxed tracks, for those new to the genre. Although Take Control may not have worked out as well as Are You Satisfied? it’s still a good listen and worth the time, even if it’s just to check out how they’ve progressed as a band and deviated from their stereotypical sound.
If you haven’t heard of Slaves before and are looking for a taster of what they’re about, or you’re a returning fan who is yet to listen to Take Control, check out the album’s first single Spit It Out below.