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British punk-rock dead and buried yonks ago? …well ‘ave a earful of Tunbridge Wells rowdiest and most enterprising 2-piece: Isaac Holman (vocals and drums!) and Laurie Vincent (guitar and vocals). Formed in the aforesaid Kent county in 2012 – literally playing out of their garage – the young smartly-dressed tearaways plied themselves around London, performing nothing from ’77, just an attitude; incidentally, Isaac hits the snare drums and cymbals from a standing position.
An independently-released mp3, SUGAR COATED BITTER TRUTH (2012) {*6}, was duly delivered as a mini-CD by Boss Tuneage Records and, in turn, Fonthill (for a 3-bonus-track 12”) the following year. A hard-grafting pair that booked their own shows by emails before heading off on the road to toilet-circuit stardom, SLAVES were not just another ROYAL BLOOD, but a fun-loving duo bridging the gap between The RUTS, THESE ANIMAL MEN or hundreds of skinny-oi punk rebels that couldn’t rap. From the 15-second DAMNED-like `Girl Fight’ to the laddish and simplistic `Ceasefire’, `White Knuckle Ride’ and the screeching `Wishing Well’, all was very promising.
Subsequent singles, `Where’s Your Car Debbie?’ and `Beauty Quest’ (another from SCBT), SLAVES were captured under a new wave of media frenzy, the NME and, ultimately, Virgin-EMI. Bringing to life the spiel applied to shout-y bands from ground-zero ’77, the chaotic 2-piece unleashed a handful of colourful and limited-edition 7-inch 45s: `Hey’ (soon-to-be paired with `The Hunter’), `Feed The Mantaray’ and `Cheer Up London’ – aka “Already Dead” the video! – tasters from their summer 2015 full-debut set, ARE YOU SATISFIED? {*8}. Add to the equation, the head-swirling `Despair And Traffic’, the electrifying `Sockets’, the pogo-ing `Do Something’ and the KILLING JOKE-like `Live Like An Animal’, the supersonic SLAVES looked set to be spearheading a whole new generation of suburban-ite punks.
Leaving less time to kill than the average band, the pair’s punk-rock skeletons were out of the closet with quick-fire follow-up, TAKE CONTROL (2016) {*8}. Obviously listening to granddad’s record collection gathering dust in the attic (from ALTERNATIVE TV to CRASS, no doubt), harsh Holman added his tongue-twisting philosophical rants and raps without compromise or empathy for the `Rich Man’, `People That You Meet’, `STD’s/PHD’s’ or `Lies’. Shock was that it was produced by BEASTIE BOYS’ Mike D, who lent a hand to the shout-y `Consume Or Be Consumed’. Pent-up aggression and leaving nothing to the imagination or the cutting-room floor, the 45-second `Fuck The Hi-Hat’, or indeed `Spit It Out’ and `Hypnotised’, were similar in some respect to a fusion of WIRE’s `12XU’ and The DAMNED’s `Stab Yor Back’, but there was calmness restored through new wave/punk connection of `Steer Clear’, which afforded son of Ian, BAXTER DURY, dual mic time.
© MC Strong/MCS Jun2015-Sep2016

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