Take Control - Slaves
By Laura Vale
Slaves have returned with their second album Take Control only a year after their last release Are You Satisfied?, which blew them up in the music world. As a result, its had high expectations for many following the success of their last record, with critics and punk fans alike ready and waiting for more angst ridden, anti-establishment fury. This album has to prove that they are in the game and here to stay.
The album starts with a huge track, "Spit it Out", which immediately sets the tone from the opening passage - "Sucking on a sour sweet, blisters on your tongue / Sucking on a sour sweet, sitting on your thumb" - further pulling you in by the collar with a running bass-line. The duo scream and shout with astounding anger and passion, and straight away you can tell that there is a promise of greatness that will be delivered in the remaining 15 tracks. Though it's a relatively basic beat, with repetitive "spit it out" chants, it's power to keep you gripped throughout is immense.
The record moves onto "Hypnotised", which starts with a heavily distorted bass-line and sounds very much like early Sex Pistols material with the pace of a Bad Brains classic. The resulting picture painted is one of a dark and dingy nightclub filled with mobs of moshing, sweaty individuals dancing without rhyme or reason ."Consume or be Consumed" is a lot slower, but heavier and dirtier nonetheless, even featuring a cameo from Beastie Boys' Mike D. The verses are lyrical but remain prevalent, with a rap style that adds a little extra spice to the song, making up for the lack of pace that Slaves are generally accustomed to.
The albums title track "Take Control" starts off in a familiarly Slaves manner with an ever poignant guitar riff and thumping drum beat that delivers alongside the shouts of "take control". "Lies" has a softer and more traditional rock feel to it than a punk vibe, and is reminiscent of early Maccabees material, which, although is not typical of the band, still has the makings of a standout track. Follower "People That You Meet" is a mixture of blues and punk, but it works to broaden their sound further than the preceding number. The most colourful track however, "Steer Clear", is the most disparate of them all, made evident by a computer-generated drum-machine foundation and, despite it also being one of the more gentle tracks on the record, it's a seemingly curious number and sounds like an early 80s tunes, reminiscent of something put out by Joy Division.
Generally the record is solid, and is evocative of a band that have been making records for years, which, for Slaves' only second studio full-length, is impressive. Though, the one "mistake" with having a lengthy 16 tracks on the album, is that many of the songs do appear seemingly dense and repetitive in stages and, thus, can become slightly monotonous at points - but it must be mentioned that Slaves' knack for making the most of the four chords that embody each track is unrivalled, which is ultimately what sets the apart. In spite of their repetition, the album is fuelled by wonderful lyricism, and the creation of characters means that there are deep and wonderful stories behind each song. Slaves demand respect for bringing back punk and bringing it back so damn well. This album delivers what we hoped and then some, and it's exciting to see where the boys are headed next.