Slaves - Are You Satisfied?
There's a lot to be said for first impressions in music, especially when they come during a support slot. We were suitably won over by Slaves when they toured with Blood Red Shoes last year, and have been awaiting their full-length debut with high anticipation. It's pleasing to note that while some of that live intensity has inevitably been lost on record, Are You Satisfied? is a blisteringly enjoyable opening salvo from the Kent punk-rock duo.
This is music without airs or graces, just a good old fashioned reliance on chunky riffs and propulsive drumming. It's certainly abrasive at times - "You're dead already" screams the chorus of 'Cheer Up London' - but Slaves are clearly having fun, and want you to have fun too. There's a playful edge to the duo, from the re-done second verse of 'Do Something' to the entertaining lyrics: "Talking to a mannequin the other day / She had fuck all to say to me" ('Ninety Nine'). Old-school punk rockers may rue the lack of establishment-shaking lyrics, but it'll be of little consequence to most.
There are missteps (the acoustic title track stands out for the wrong reasons), but it's still heartening to see the variety on display to prevent the album becoming one-note. It helps that there are more than enough highs to negate the lulls, with the storming album opener 'The Hunter', the frantic 'Hey' and the album's best hook on 'Live Like An Animal' among them. It may not have the impact of their live turns, but this leaves us more than satisfied in the meantime.