Slaves – The Institute, Birmingham

Ahead of the release of the second album ‘Are You Satisfied?’ in the coming week, Tunbridge Wells duo Slaves are currently doing the rounds on the UK circuit to showcase upcoming material along with previous EP releases and tracks from their 2012 debut. I headed down to the Library within the Institute last night to witness the blogosphere buzz around the band who appear to be on a mission to reignite a punk revolution.

There is no doubt they have the following, the atmosphere is charged from the offset and the Birmingham crowds are pumped and ready for the show. They know the material well as they sing along to the opening tracks ‘White Knuckle Ride’ and ‘She Grew Old’ in collective force. This pace continues with wild eyed drum solos from Issac Holman and blistering, screaming vocals as he introduces tracks such as ‘Where’s Your Car Debbie?’.

The only way I can describe the atmosphere was as though I was on the outside of some elaborate inside joke. I admit I did not know the discography inside out yet I was familiar with the music yet no part of the show felt particularly rousing as I stood bemused whilst watching an audience member crowd surf to a song comprising of the letters ‘OK’. My issue with Slaves music is the completely uninspired lyrical content, ‘Cheer Up London’ is about commuters seemingly spending too much time at work whilst ‘Hey’ appears to be about nothing at all, just another opportunity for Holman to ignite pained screams through the venue.

The group inadvertently summate the approach to music during the introduction to ‘Feed The Mantaray’ as they describe the song to be a hate letter to a noisy neighbour before admitting ‘what the fuck that has to do with manta rays I don’t know’. This lack of ambition, consistency and intelligence leaves these songs as nothing more than noisy walls of sound that will keep the fair weather festival punter rocking along in tents. The likes of Savages, Foals and Wolf Alice are shining examples of considered guitar led music with a perceptive lyrical tone and voice, something Slaves seem to be severely lacking.

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