“We don’t say fuck the government … It’s about encouraging people” (Laurie Vincent, 2015)
Slaves is a punk-duo band from Kent, consisting of Laurie Vincent (guitarist) and Isaac Holman (vocal, drummer), who released their debut album “Are You Satisfied?” in 2015 and after a year, they announced their second album “Take Control” in September 2016. The band confronted a lot of political issues, “throw together punk existentialism, sketches of suburban life and absurd narratives about manta rays and sasquatches in noisy three-minute bursts” (Perry, 2015).
The first album has received a lot of positive reviews, frequently being played on Radio 1, and even reached number 8 on UK Top Chart in the first week after the release. Even the band members were surprised about the success themselves, Holman added “The fact that we’re being played to the masses is just weird. You almost forget that it’s your own band, and just think: ‘Thank fuck Radio 1 are playing something like this, something that isn’t a love song.”
Rude and unconventional, punks tended to view established social conventions as hypocritical obfuscations obscuring the brutality of real life (Dunn, 2008:195). Punk rock and its subcultures seek out uniques and outside the mass culture (Levine & Stumpf, 1983:433). The band attempted the difficult task of adding more content to their “abrasive, reckless sound by addressing the political and societal corruption and imbalance in the world today” (Carr, 2016). The first song “Spit It Out” opened the album with strong images about the young generation being ignorant, selfish and immune to everything that happens around them.
“Maybe you should put yourself
In someone else’s shoes
Try hard not to dwell upon
Decisions that you choose”
(Spit It Out, 2016)
“Hypnotised” is followed with the blame on people and their technology (TV, HD, 3G), spending their time eating junk food, watching reality shows etc in a materialistic society. The third track “Consume or be consumed” also delivers the similar message about social consumption, criticises the way we are being controlled by the government to consume what they told us to, or else we would become unconventional and “be consumed” by the laws. The whole album follows the same theme, to encourages people to “take control” of their own lives and decisions, not being influenced by the mass, which is what punk is all about.
According to Vannini and Williams (2009:71), “punk seeks to change individual mindsets as a precursor to the types of ideas that bring about change”. Punk artists’ desires are to be subversive in the reshaping of culture through art (Simonelli, 1976:125). Slaves has challenged the listeners to get out of their comfort zones, to lead and not to follow. “Take Control colourfully, and often cartoonishly, blazes with a refusal to accept the monotonies of everyday life” (Leivers, 2016). Laurie Vincent, the guitarist, added “And when the band started getting successful it dawned on me that people need to get positive messages and need to be encouraged, because I don’t think our generation does that.” (Mcguire, 2015).
Carr, P (2016) Slaves: Take Control Available at: http://www.popmatters.com/review/slaves-take-control/ [Accessed 21 November 2016]
Dunn, K (2008) Never mind the bollocks: the punk rock politics of global communication, Review of International Studies, 34, 193-210
Levine, H. and Stumpf, S. (1983) Statements of Fear through Cultural Symbols: Punk Rock as a Reflective Subculture, Youth Society, Vol. 14, No. 4, p. 417 – 435
Mcguire, S (2015) British punk band Slaves want people to stop being ‘wrapped up in themselves’
Available at: http://www.mancunianmatters.co.uk/content/090573370-british-punk-band-slaves-want-people-stop-being-wrapped-themselves [Accessed 21 November 2016]
Perry, K (2015) Slaves: meet the young Kent punks putting the party in the political
Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/may/23/slaves-the-hunter-feed-the-mantaray [Accessed 21 November 2016]
Simonelli, D (1976-1978) Anarchy, Pop and Violence: Punk Rock Subculture and the Rhetoric of Class, Contemporary British History, Vol.16, No.2 (Summer 2002), pp.121–144