When Slaves burst onto the scene with their 2015 debut Are You Satisfied? they filled a gap in indie music that much needed to be filled — a gap in the shape of good ol’ shambolic, rambunctious punk.
The London duo is set to return with a new album out in August, and both prior single ‘Cut and Run’ and most recently, ‘Chokehold’, indicate they’ve replaced their utterly furious raw punk sound with something more instantly radio-friendly, but certainly just as fun to listen to.
In ‘Chokehold’, drummer Isaac Holman keeps the pace steadily throughout in typical Slaves fashion; it’s important in a duo such as Royal Blood or The White Stripes that the percussion has just as much of a distinctive voice as the actual vocalist, and Holman makes sure this is the case on Slaves’ new song. If it’s at all possible for something bittersweet to sound aggressive at the same time, Laurie Vincent has achieved it in Chokehold — both the lyrics of this song and the moody guitars sound both pissed off and melancholy. Even the “ah-ah-ah-ahhhs” of the chorus seem snarled in a thick accent — it’s easy to imagine this song going down a treat live, not necessarily for mosh pits like most of the band’s work, but for the bitterness in the crowds’ voices as they inevitably yell along.
Punk is generally associated with political lyrics, and whilst Slaves have certainly tackled that in the past, ‘Chokehold’ is more personal as Vincent mouths off about being spurned by a woman he has feelings for in favour of another. It goes to show that the personal can be just as rage-inducing as the political — and the political is surely something that will surface elsewhere on the new album, Acts of Fear and Love, released August 17.