On this album Slaves sound best when they don’t sound like themselves.
‘Consume Or Be Consumed’ is the first example of this. Harking back to his rendition of Skepta’s ‘Shutdown’ in the Live Lounge, front man Isaac Holman raps with an attitude that put Mike D’s guest verse to shame; the ex Beastie Boy only features for an unsatisfactory seventeen seconds. Actually that’s not entirely true, the New Yorker did also produce the album as Isaac references on ‘People That You Meet’ and he manages to achieve a powerful, cathedral sized sound for a band with only two members.
The fun side of Slaves comes out on ‘Fuck The Hi-Hat’, a low res forty four second jam. And on the best track of the album ‘Steer Clear’ we hear, for the first time, a sensitive side to Holman. This beautiful collaboration with singer/songwriter Baxter Dury incorporates computer beats, Dury’s gentle guitar style and for once a quiet Holman. It’s a shame that the best song on this record is the one that sounds nothing like Slaves.
The rest of the album is the classic Slaves sound (if you can have a classic sound after one album). It’s loud, angry and abrasive, which is not objectively bad, but on a sixteen track LP it does get wearisome.
This album is nothing special or particularly groundbreaking, the highlights are when the duo mix things up and deviate from the relentless bassy riffs and repetitive drumming.
Punk’s not dead, but it’s a bit tired.