Thumpy. Rowdy. Dirty. Everything you want in a punk album.
The Kent duo, Laurie Vincent and Isaac Holman, are back again, with their third album, “Acts of Fear and Love” following on from their 2016 release of “Take Control.” Sticking to their punky roots once again, they’ve offered up a truly hazardous album taking their music further than ever before, with veiny in-your-face guitar riffs, thumping drums and gritty vocals that makes you want to thrash about the place.
The album kicks off with, “The Lives They Wish They Had,” a perfect way for the band to introduce themselves to new fans – gritty humour, angry choruses, dirty chords. The song is soon cranked up a gear and turns into chaos, which is exactly what you want from these boys. It’s short and sweet – bit like this entire album.
This is followed on with “Cut and Run,” a song much different to their other material. It soon becomes somewhat repetitive and doesn’t really lead anywhere as a song, but with catchy lyrics, crunchy guitar licks – you can’t help but get along to it, and so it sits comfortably within this album.
“Bugs” and “Magnolia” are considered the angsty punk songs about let-down generations and housing interiors but, they can be seen as nothing as fillers to push up the album’s numbers. Laurie’s guitar effects however, are up to par once again throughout the album and suit Isaac’s pulsating drums once again – these two simply bounce off each other.
It wouldn’t be a Slaves album without an unusual acoustic song squeezed in between the loud chaos. It began with “Are You Satisfied” off their debut and continued with skits off their second album. Now, we have “Daddy”, a guitar lick that could’ve been developed into an entire song, unlike its minute, 50 seconds run-through. It filters in a nice break for the listeners and shows a softer side to the duo.
This is followed on with “Chokehold,” their pre-material ‘banger,’ which their old fans will be more familiar with. Their music video matches the same brilliance as the writing to the song – a quirky story based around the idea of Isaac leaving the band and Laurie having to find a replacement drummer. There are several cameos from fellow drummers such as Ben Thatcher from Royal Blood and Sam Doyle of the Maccabees. With its disparate lyrics, stabbing guitar and kick-ass drum groove, it is a song that can be happily repeated off this album, and one that will most definitely be played during their live concerts.
Then, comes a song that I have had on repeat ever since the album has come out. “Photo Opportunity” offers eloquence in all kinds of ways. It is a much slower song from Slaves, but does not take away the fact how powerful the song is. Laurie’s guitar melody with Isaac’s monotone singing creates sadness during the first verse, and draws you in instantly. It suddenly explodes with gritty guitar chords and pulls you in further right up in your face, with Isaac screaming “WHAT SHALL WE DO TODAY,” just off from the microphone. Sounding similar to old Twenty One Pilots, It is a song that shows a different side to the band from Kent, and pushes punk further into more and more people’s ears, and that ‘s brilliant.
This is follows with dark and gloomy “Artificial Intelligence” telling us about the dangers of robots getting cleverer and cleverer, with echoing screams of us telling to switch them off, but once again, get very familiar with its style and structure of the song. Good but skippable.
The album finishes with number 9 – self-titled “Acts Of Fear And Love.” Sounding similar to The Streets, it tells us a monologue story that life itself is made up of acts of just fear and love, and nothing else. It is a strong number to finish the album off, a story depicted well throughout, with the ending depicting of styles of The Stone Roses and Joy Divison, that is honed in across the album. It perfectly concludes Slaves’ third piece of work, and you can tell they have worked hard on it. Now, I need to be sure to catch them live, before the whole tour sells out.
Dirty and angry, Slaves play off each other perfectly, using their talent in the right ways and at the right time, to produce an album that sends them further into punk, and hopefully, making new steps in the history books.
BEST SONG: Photo Opportunity