In 2013/14, Slaves were something of a kick up the arse to sanitised modern punk – two hungry young lads with a new take on an old formula and something to say. The sight of barechested Isaac Holman battering his basic drumkit with the finesse of a pissed-up Mr Universe taking an angry dump in a wheelbarrow, while Doc Martined, spider-tattooed Laurie Vincent strangle-wanked the filthiest of feedbacked riffs from his guitar was something to behold. The passion in their debut album was genuine and the pair came across as truly likeable characters who just wanted to punk, to hell with popularity. Fast forward to 2016, and where once lay hope, now lies carrion, shredded by the necrotising, sycophantic claws of NME and BBC Radio 1. Although ‘Take Control’ starts well with ‘Spit It Out’ and ‘Hypnotised’, a ferocious bloody swipe at reality TV culture, it soon bloats, surrounding a thoroughly decent EP with barely demo-worthy experiments in progress. The band seem rushed, forced to fix an unbroken wheel and get a second album out to appease the skinny-fit jeans they have accumulated in the last year, charged with selling punk to people who buy Ramones t-shirts from Primark. It’s hard to compare the weaker tracks to anything, since their ilk would normally never see the light of day, left to rot on the studio floor with the empty beer cans. ‘Angelica’ in particular sounds like it was written by an 11-year-old, pissed off that his big sister dressed his He-Man figures in Barbie dresses, while Baxter Dury collaboration ‘Steer Clear’s Casio-lite Blockheads is so dismal the Samaritans should campaign to have it destroyed. MonkHammer wanted to love this album, we truly did, especially as it is produced by none other than Beastie Boys’ Mike D, but it feels like someone in a rather lovely suit has deemed us not worthy because our balls aren’t trebucheted to our chins every time we get dressed. However, with every cloud comes a silver lining, and given the time to breathe, reflect and shake off the Ready Brek glow of quick fame, album three could be absolutely bloody phenomenal.