Slaves
Take Control
Virgin EMI

While 2015’s Are You Satisfied? garnered almost universal acclaim and won Slaves a ton of fans, it was hard to see how the punk duo from Kent, in southern England, would follow up the brash and brutal punk pop of that Mercury-nominated debut album. But they wasted no time in releasing their second effort, and Take Control enlists the produc­tion wizardry of Beastie Boy Mike D. While Play Dead and the veno­mous lead single Spit it Out could easily have come from that debut album, it seems there is now variety to the tried-and-tested tribal punk rhythms of drummer/vocalist Isaac Holman and guitarist Laurie Vincent. The socially astute lyrics are inflected with the same cartoon­ish wit and disgruntlement as before but Take Control takes the snotty punk up a notch, as on Hypnotised and the wonderfully brattish closer Same Again, and squashes the previous lighter pop leanings under their stomping bovver boots. The plodding melancholy of Steer Clear, featuring the deadpan Baxter Dury, demonstrates the duo’s knack for hazy melody and shows they are more than a one-trick pony.