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Slaves - Acts of Fear and Love (Album Review)

Tuesday, 21 August 2018 Written by Liam Turner

Whether it’s because they’ve pricked the ears of primetime Radio 1 DJs, or because they’ve signed to one of the biggest record labels in the world, or because their songs spout trite counterculture messages, the likes of which any 16-year-old has already heard too many times, Slaves always come across as punk-lite. It’s been said that they’re punk for those who don’t really know what punk is, and their new record, ‘Acts of Fear and Love’, proves that maxim still rings true.

Well, the first chunk of it does, at least. ‘Acts of Fear and Love’, the duo’s third full-length release, is very much a tale of two halves. The opening stanza finds Laurie Vincent and Isaac Holman shouting facile truths above angry guitars and thrashing drums, which is nothing we haven’t heard before. But the second reveals a depth and sensitivity that we’ve not really seen until now.

The turning point is marked by Daddy, a short pseudo-ballad that tells the sad story of man chasing his wasted youth.

“Daddy’s got a new girl, young enough to be his kid / Making up for lost time, things he wishes that he did,” Holman sings in an almost nursery-rhyme melody above a gentle guitar. Wolf Alice’s Ellie Rowsell's backing vocals complement the melancholic feel of the track.

Chokehold is another highlight. It’s a comic tale of lost love that sports a sublimely simple chorus with Britpop-style backing vocals, and a brooding bridge that’s so good it’s a shame it doesn’t repeat.

This new record also represents an evolution in how Slaves present their polemics. Whereas previous efforts espoused simple messages of nihilism and anarchism (see Consume Or Be Consumed from the band’s sophomore effort) ‘Acts of Fear and Love’, for the most most part, takes a slightly more thoughtful approach.

The spoken-word title track, for instance, ends the record on a genuinely philosophical note, with Holman coming to the realisation that fear and love, not hate, fuel anything anyone ever does. It’s probably the first Slaves track that borders on poetry.

The record as a whole doesn’t quite offer the same level of sophistication, but it’s good to see the once headstrong duo soften their stance a bit and show they can do more than bark a few braindead slogans.

Slaves Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed November 07 2018 - NEWCASTLE O2 Academy Newcastle
Thu November 08 2018 - GLASGOW Barrowland
Sat November 10 2018 - NOTTINGHAM Rock City
Mon November 12 2018 - BELFAST Limelight
Tue November 13 2018 - DUBLIN Academy
Thu November 15 2018 - NORWICH Norwich Nick Rayns LCR UEA
Fri November 16 2018 - LIVERPOOL O2 Academy Liverpool
Sat November 17 2018 - MANCHESTER Manchester Academy
Mon November 19 2018 - LEEDS O2 Academy Leeds
Tue November 20 2018 - BRISTOL O2 Academy Bristol
Thu November 22 2018 - CARDIFF Tramshed
Fri November 23 2018 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Academy Birmingham
Sat November 24 2018 - LONDON Alexandra Palace

Click here to compare & buy Slaves Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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