Reviewed by Andrew Scott
There used to be only one ‘Dynamic Duo’. The Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder better watch their backs however as recent years have seen the proliferation of many dynamic duos in the world of rock music. Royal Blood, Drenge and Sleaford Mods are just a few who are currently enjoying success. Now Kent based duo Slaves have joined the party with their debut album Are You Satisfied?
Many two-piece bands seem to gravitate towards a certain sound. Drenge are grungy, Sleaford mods have mixed hip-hop and post punk and Royal Blood have their unique bass driven heavy rock. Slaves have adopted a sound reminiscent of late 70’s punk and hardcore bands such as The Clash, The Sex Pistols and Black Flag. On ‘Cheer Up London’ and ‘Wow!!!7am’ lead vocalist and guitarist’s Laurie Vincent voice sounds remarkably like Joe Strummer from The Clash. His manic laugh at the beginning of ‘Cheer Up London’ and sneer at the end of ‘Sockets’ conjure up images of Johnny Rotten. The refrain of ‘You’re Dead already, Dead Dead Already!’ in ‘Cheer Up London’ is one of the stand out moments of the record. Vincent’s ear for forceful riffs is showcased throughout the record. Opening track ‘The Hunter’, ‘Live Like An Animal’, ‘Feed The Mantaray’ have heavy, driving riffs. ‘Sugar Coated Bitter Truth’ shows the band is capable of mixing up their punk sound with some delayed guitar and echoing vocals. The only track which feels like an anomaly is ‘Are You Satisfied?’ The more introspective mix of acoustic guitar and piano feels like it should be at the end of the album and not in the middle.
The problem with being a two-piece band is that a unique sound is required to stand out from the crowd. The bands Slaves are referencing had the joy of extra members to add more colour to their sound. Slaves are probably an incredible band to see in the flesh where their energy can really bring their music to life. However the nature of their sound makes for a flat album. It’s a promising debut and let’s hope Slaves can bring some of that live energy into their next record.
Recommended song: Cheer Up London