In 2012, Slaves, a 2 piece from Kent were born. Not to be confused with a band of the same name who are a cheesy pop-rock American group that take themselves far too seriously. Instead, Slaves are the brain child of members Isaac Holman and Laurie Vincent. The duo are destined to fill a gap in the market which has been gaping and empty for some time. Hailing themselves as “Garage Punk” the pair are an infusion of trashy guitar and epic drum beats accompanied by screechy but somewhat tuneful vocals, provided by both Holman and Vincent.
Upon researching the band for this piece I stumbled on their website, cleverly titled youareallslaves.com which features free download ‘Hey’, which sums up their sound flawlessly in a whole 2 minutes and 26 seconds: short bursts of unpredictable energy coupled with teenage angst and irresistible head banging beats. Some songs, such as the first I ever heard two years ago, ‘Nervous Energy’, are even shorter but worth every second of listening time. They are the perfect accompanying tune for any event to get psyched up for, or for when you are unexplainably angry at the whole world and everybody in it. This is especially evident in ‘White Knuckle Ride’, lyrics such as: “I love you more when you’re angry with me, ‘cause you’re so boring when you’re nice” are made to be screamed at the top of your lungs.
The whole front the band ooze is linked: the sound vibe, the videos, even down to Holman and Vincent’s personal style is very 80’s ‘skinhead’ inspired; their tattooed knuckles and smart dress is reminiscent of Shane Meadow’s ‘This Is England’. Their videos make the viewer feel as if they are on illegal substances: flashing lights, jarring camera angles and trippy colour schemes have their politically-permeated lyrics hit all the more strongly. This mod-enthused revival combined with their electric live sound completes the Slaves puzzle.
I have seen the band perform twice now, both at consecutive years at Reading Festival – this year especially their set was one of my favourites of the whole weekend. Dragging my best friend along, who detests any form of shouting to music and a violent ‘moshing’ crowd, proved to be an unforgettable experience. Their repetitive angry lyrics contributed to an amazing gig, in which the whole crowd chanted the lyrics over and over again whilst Vincent repeatedly crowd surfed – this was particularly impressive with the back drop of the overwhelmingly catchy ‘Debbie, Where’s Your Car?’.
Recently announced for the NME Awards Tour in 2015, and with a debut album on the way, Slaves are incredibly worthy of their place on The Edge’s ‘THE LIST’. You will struggle to find a similar artist around, their originality and ability to be both incredibly complex whilst still maintaining only 2 band members is inspiring. Check out new single ‘The Hunter’ which is available now.
Catch Slaves touring in February/March 2015 with the rest of the artists announced for the NME Awards Tour.