British punk protagonists Slaves are tired of your apathetic ways, repulsed by your willingness to sleepwalk through your privileged existence, horrified by the smug smile of satisfaction you wear as you ingest anything and everything on offer without so much as the suggestion of independent thought. Unlike you, Slaves aren’t content to take cheap shots from a keyboard, hiding behind the anonymity of a username, they’re far too honest for that.
The duo’s debut full-length Are You Satisfied hits like a slap in the face, taking your ears hostage with its blend of raucous blues-punk and direct lyricism. Unashamedly confrontational, Are You Satisfied opens with snarling cynicism of The Hunter, a track that marries danceable rhythms with discomforting questions about motives of climate change campaigners, before focusing its antagonism on middle-class London on desperate Cheer Up London.
As guitarist Laurie Vincent’s minor chords create a sense of danger, and Isaac Holman’s drums thump, the sinister refrain of “You’re dead already, you’re dead already”, lodges itself in your brain, leaving your mind susceptible to the unnerving quasi-love song Sockets, brooding Despair and Traffic and urgent call to arms Do Something in which the Kent duo set their sights squarely on the apathetic and implore them to quite literally “do something”.
In lesser hands the limited instrumentation and attacking tone could prove monotonous but there’s a hidden pop sensibility that calls to mind the punk movement (in particular Sham 69’) which combined with the comedic spoken word overtures and intelligent sequencing, keeps things fresh.
At their best at their most shambolic, such as on standouts She Wants Me Now and Feed The Mantaray Slaves have stirred the hornet’s nest with Are You Satisfied and you get the sense they don’t give a fuck who gets stung.
‘Are You Satisfied’ is out now via Virgin EMI.
Watch: Slaves – The Hunter