There really is no way you can justify under selling how incredibly fantastic 2015 has been for Slaves. In terms of an appraisal of the last twelve months they have had a stellar year by virtually anyone's standards bar possibly Adele. Since forming barely three years ago Slaves (Laurie Vincent and Isaac Holman) have taken everything in their stride and blown all before them away with their unique, incendiary, 21st Century Punk.
The duo from Royal Tunbridge Wells have not so much been a breath of fresh air as a veritable whirlwind delivering a torrent of wired, barely tamed, electrified energy. After releasing their first three singles in 2014, 'Where's Your Car Debbie', 'Hey' and then their breakthrough track, 'The Hunter', Slaves have barely had time to catch a breath. A 'Sound of 2015' nod, 'Later with Jools' appearance, Glastonbury, Reading & Leeds, T-In The Park, numerous awards, an album release in June and a Mercury nomination amongst others have helped bring them to a much wider audience.
Upon its original release in the early summer 'Are You Satisfied?' peaked in the album charts at a very respectable #8 and went on to appear on many a critic's, and fan's, 'Top albums of the year list'. The album has now been given a fresh lease of life with this latest, much enhanced, incarnation. There are nine extra tracks including R1 session tracks and B-Sides as well as an unreleased track, 'Tricky'.
The rawness, potency and sheer unrelenting energy that make Slaves so appealing are by no means lost or dissipated by extending the album to include all this added material. Radio #1's current obsession with 'Where's Your Car Debbie' means it's inclusion is a must and the cover versions amongst the twenty two tracks, including a brilliant (LCD Sound System) 'Daft Punk Is Playing In My House', originally recorded for Huw Stephens, are an off piste highlight rather than an indulgence.
With an attitude all their own but with a lineage clearly traceable through Royal Blood, The White Stripes, Carter USM, Sid Presley and way back to early New Wave and Punk origins Slaves have a lot to say and a ferocious and fevered passion for performing. Their 'anger' and attitude have all the snarl and 'couldn't give a f**k' swagger required to effectively pull it all off too. Somewhat ironically the only time that Slaves seem subdued or even remotely relaxed is on the All Seeing Eye, 'Walk Like A Panther' like title track, 'Are You Satisfied'. Everywhere else on this and the original version of the album they are practically feral.
From the opening onslaught of the darkly oppressive 'The Hunter', thunderous criticism of 'Do Something', the machine gun mania of 'Despair And Traffic', through the terrorised 'Feed The Mantaray' and anthemic chaos of 'OK' Slaves belt out top tune after top tune. It's easy to forget that in the large part it's just a guitar and a set of drums providing the backing to the impassioned vocals; testament to their creativity and the quality of the songs.
'Are You Satisfied? (Deluxe Edition)' is more than just the odd extra single strapped on or a remix or two added in to cash in on a recent surge in airplay and popularity. (Although if you have a particularly cynical bent towards marketing or Christmas this could be forgiven!) It is something with enough added extras to make it a worthwhile purchase for new and old fans alike. If you didn't get it first time around now's your chance to enjoy what unapologetic, energised, exciting, up front and unrelenting potent Punk sound like in 21st Century Britain......"watch out for those kids, they'll tear you apart".
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