Slaves seem to be the last Bastian of UK radio-friendly punk available in 2019. The Radio 1 DJ will happily press-play after Freya Ridings or before a hideous attempt at banter. Slaves seem to fill that void of Chas’n’Dave’s Rage Against the Machine, you know, “Fuck the State/Hi-hat!”, on one hand, but you’d go for a pint with this cheeky pair. After releasing “Acts of Fear and Love” last year, with such hits as “Chokehold” and “Magnolia”, Slaves give us a taste of things to come…possibly.
The Velvet Ditch feels different; almost like a band’s first demo. Four songs vastly different to show the record company that they have range. “One More Day Won’t Hurt” slugs in with a Nu-Metal-sway whilst lyrical it leans towards graceless aggression, rather than motivational charm. It does, however, give heed a warning that “Cocaine is a hell of a drug when it's running through the veins of a small-town thug.” No charming “Did you know…?” facts here! The doom-lurching-Sabbath-groan intro of “It Makes Me Sick” soon gallops into the thrash-punk stylings of early Offspring; full of no self-esteem and self-disgust at the protagonist’s own perversions. Title-track “The Velvet Ditch” tips it hat to American Music-Hall. Slaves: Live at the Grand Ole Opry! However, a simple song that seems over before it’s begun. We neatly end on “When Will I Learn?”. A simple tale of isolation and hangxiety that we’ve all suffered from that night that might have gone just a little too far.
This EP might indeed give us the teasings of the next step in Slaves career. Perhaps a more sombre band? Similar to the Beastie Boys; flicks and sparks of cheeky-charm, but no more “Fight for Your Right To Party”