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Album Review: Slaves - Acts of Fear and Love

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Now onto their third studio album, Slaves’ recent endeavours cover more ground than ever before. Being a punk duo, you’d expect some limitations to what they can spit out...but not these guys.

After a few months out in 2017 to focus on other matters (such as fatherhood and a shoulder surgery) Isaac and Laurie didn’t waste too much time before getting back in the studio and producing album number three.

The 30-minute long album, following their Beastie Boys’ produced record 'Take Control', has a funkier feeling that you might not imagine a punk band could or should possess. However, album three appears to have combined their two previous albums and merged them together into a pure beauty that is Acts of Fear and Love.

Touching on politics, social issues, with a couple of token ballad-like anthems; Slaves prove their place in the industry with another banger of an album. Once again, they have produced an album that tells us a story, each track portrays a different thought-provoking topic that gets your brain ticking.

‘The Lives They Wished They Had’ holds some of Isaac’s best lyrics to date that make your head spin with the ugly truth. “Is it praise you're after? Or is it something more? Like a desperate need for acceptance that you just can't ignore” projects modern social decay due to social media. “Popularity, online currency, insularity, everybody follow me”. 

‘Bugs’ is one hell of a heavy track, grilling and raw with repetitive lyrics; ‘Bugs’ takes us back to the days of Are You Satisfied? with a refined, mature approach. But it’s not all quite so angry, ‘Cut and Run’ offers a much more comedic, light-hearted classic Slaves track, along with the opening lyric to ‘Magnolia’, “Did you know / 65% of UK homes contain at least one magnolia wall / I bet you didn’t”. It’s these casual elements to a Slaves track that keep us coming back for more.

Five tracks in and ‘Daddy’ explores the observation of a mid-life crisis from a vulnerable and innocent mind. Slowing down the album, Laurie takes control with a guitar and vocal-only number. Isaac’s softer vocals accompanied by Ellie Rowsell (Wolf Alice) provide a more sentimental and pure track to break up the record.

The album flows brilliantly from track to track, but with no ambiguity in where one starts and ends, even when it comes to the slower songs such as ‘Daddy’ and ‘Photo Opportunity’.

‘Photo Opportunity’ particularly, radiates a vulnerable side to Isaac as opposed to the usual boisterous presence he brings to Slaves. This track, in particular, shows a personal growth in terms of the band; reflecting on the past and the future of Slaves.

‘Artificial Intelligence’ emanates a gloomy grunge tone, before bringing it back down with ‘Acts of Fear and Love’. Album closer and titled track, ‘Acts of Fear and Love’ kicks off with a stripped-back bluesy guitar chug. Isaac chants variations of the title, “acts of fear and love”, while Laurie harmonises in the background.

It’s a perfect track to end an album on - reflective spoken word supported by precise guitars and drums wrap up Acts of Fear and Love in the most impeccable way possible.

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