Slaves - 'The Velvet Ditch'

5/10

Since the release of their debut album 'Are You Satisfied?', Kent-based duo Slaves have found themselves at the forefront of Britain's revived punk scene. Becoming one of the more prolific names on the circuit right now, the band have enjoyed modest to ecstatic acclaim for their three studio records to date, maintaining them as one of the country's most proficient outfits. But while their last LP 'Acts Of Fear And Love' saw them continue their pursuit of the snarled and sarcastic direction they have adopted, the band have been struggling with an identity crisis as to how they want to sound, and this has been showcased on their new EP 'The Velvet Ditch'.

Recorded during the sessions for their third full-length, 'The Velvet Ditch' aims to give fans a taste of the other side to their pursuit into aggressive punk rock, showing us all that they have intentions that reach far beyond their normal aesthetic. And while the four-track release does deliver one hell of a punch with its explosive opener 'One More Day Won't Hurt', there are plenty of surprising moments on this new collection as well. Most notably the sweeping and solemn title-track and even a humbling piano ballad for the closer 'When Will I Learn?', which although feels completely at odd with their normal output, does highlight a yearning for the pair to experiment with something new.

Although 'The Velvet Ditch' does give us plenty to contemplate over where Slaves could be heading next, it is still obvious as to why these tracks were left by the wayside. A jumbled mismatch of ideas that seem anywhere between half-baked or far too intense for their regular path. A great addition for fans of the group, but not much in quenching our thirst for more new material.

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