The Velvet Ditch EP new from punk duo Slaves is an excellent example to show anyone who wants to start listening to Slaves. The contrast between the two sides of the record perfectly shows both the light and the dark of Slaves. From the fast paced punk beats of It Makes Me Sick to the delicate piano quotas in When Will I Learn, this EP is a brilliant entry point to this sonic powerhouse of a band.
The first track One More Day Won’t Hurt has a mighty bass riff akin to Bugs from Slaves’ previous release Acts Of Fear and Love with a massive drum sound and Isaac’s spitting rap lines giving it an all together different but no less powerful blunt force. This track punched you in the face so hard you’ll have no idea what hit you.
Second we have It Makes Me Sick which while being my least favourite track on The Velvet Ditch it is still no doubt ferocious. That intro guitar riff from the wonderful Mr. Vincent is so reminiscent of the legendary Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath before the track launches into hardcore punk guitar chords, blasting drums and vocals harsh enough you wonder how Isaac hasn’t lost his voice yet. The song isn’t necessarily a bad one, but I never found hardcore punk that appealing so this track has less impact for me, despite being so heavy. Still, live this will be insane and I’d recommend it to anyone into the heavier side of punk.
The title track is up next and let me tell you, this track took me by surprise when I first listened to this EP. The massive 180 degree turn from the tracks prior was a brave choice from the duo. This soft guitar and vocal only piece has a steady rhythm with Laurie echoing Isaacs lyrics with a haunting pitch. The guitar riff is so simple and hypnotic, it’s the kind of riff that makes think one of a children’s television programme. My only complaint is that compared to the rest of the EP, this lacks the force previously and further heard, and in my opinion does not deserve to be the title track. A title track is meant to represent the entire piece of work and for me this track is too far removed from the other songs to do that, but again, maybe that was intentional.
And now we come to the end, the grand finale, and what a finish it is. When Will I Learn is so eerily beautiful and yet still has the catchiness to be sung along with. This is a song hugely different to anything Slaves has ever done before and yet is still unmistakably a Slaves track, thanks hugely to Isaacs vocals and lyrics. The production is also excellent and I don’t think the track would be as good as it is without the stellar producing. I can see many people, young and old shedding a tear to this.
The Velvet Ditch is so powerful, so uniquely contrasting that I urge all my readers to listen to it. It’s available on all major listening platforms and for to those who’ve never heard Slaves, this is the definitive jumping off point into your new obsession.
Peace, Love and Cowbells,