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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.
Teaming up with ROYAL BLOOD producer Jolyon Thomas, SLAVES ran up their third consecutive Top 10 set with ACTS OF FEAR AND LOVE (2018) {*8}. Nine numbers under a half hour was hardly value for money under today’s deluxe-CD climate, however, quality assurance was the name of the game for the simplistic, hook-line punk anthems like `The Lives They Wish They Had’, `Cut And Run’, `Magnolia’, `Chokehold’ and the short ‘n’ bittersweet, Ellie Roswell-enhanced ditty, `Daddy’.
© MC Strong/MCS Jun2015-Aug2018

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