Kent-natives Slaves have had their foot down on the accelerator since dropping their debut album ‘Are You Satisfied?’ in 2015 and then following it up in 2016 with ‘Take Control’ and now once again the duo have gone back to the studio, refined their sound and have not hung around with the release of their third studio album ‘Acts of Fear and Love’.
Slaves’ third LP highlights their attempts to broaden their horizons with a slight move away from the high-octane sound of the first two albums and it, therefore, has a less angry sound yet there’s nothing to worry about – Isaac and Laurie have still included tracks which hark back to their roots such as album opener ‘The Lives They Wished They Had’, ‘Bugs’ and ‘Chokehold’. The variation between the new sound and the old creates an album which has a proper dynamic and multiple layers – with the old drawing fans back in but the new exploring new avenues and only adding a greater depth to their sound. ‘Artificial Intelligence’ is another track which breeds a menacing grungey sound going back to the Slaves we are used to. Although the album contains a new, more developed sound and the old more expected heavy tracks, everything seems to be more matured and refined. Not going hell-for-leather creates scope for a new raw and emotional vibe as is evident in ‘Daddy’ which features guest vocals from Wolf Alice’s Ellie Rowsell. ‘Photo Opportunity’ is another track which confirms the raw and vulnerable vibe. ‘Cut and Run’ however is a mix of both old and new serving to highlight the reasons on why we love Slaves!
Rather than their usual rallying against the system, ‘Acts of Fear and Love’ focuses on human behavior and questions it which can only be defined as refreshing. Slaves have always been ones to been seen as thuggish lads who go about with a cocksure charm but although they do have a certain cocksure charm, they are also extremely humble, friendly and all about enjoying what they do. They have always seemed to be a step outside the norms of the UK music scene with a generation of bands who seem to produce similar sounding soft guitar music but not Slaves. The Duo know what they want and they do it, it would be wrong to assume they take themselves seriously especially with the whole ‘Cut and Run’ promo which seemed to scare a whole bunch of fans and the Slaves TV teaser for the album which sees Bart (Laurie’s Son) taking on the role of the producer and scolding them for not working hard enough. If there is one thing that is certain about Slaves, there are here to have fun.
To be brutally honest, 2016’s Take Control was by no means on the same level as their debut album in 2015 or did it blow anyone away, however, it is clear now to see that it was all a part of their development as a duo. In the context of ‘Acts of Fear and Love’ it would be hard to predict what direction Slaves will take their sound next but there’s one thing for sure – its up.