Acts of Fear and Love is the fourth album from Slaves, arguably the most loveable Punk duo in recent times. Like most people, I became a fan of Isaac and Laurie after the release of Are You Satisfied? an album that somehow broke into the mainstream despite being everything that shouldn’t breakthrough into the mainstream. It’s guitar-driven sound tore through the disapproving looks of the boring and somehow ended up with the boys appearing on TV’s Sunday Brunch. That was an odd Sunday morning.
One thing I’ve enjoyed about Slaves is their casual approach when it comes to making music. While Are You Satisfied? stayed within the lines, follow up Take Control wasn’t afraid to mix things up a little, and produced a couple groovy and a couple bluesy numbers in amongst Slaves’s traditionally fierce output. Acts of Fear and Love is also pretty relaxed with sticking to the same sound, something I think was obvious from lead single ‘Cut and Run’.
With minimal lyricism, simple hooks and a catchy set of dance moves, I was a little hesitant to believe that this was the same Slaves who wanted to remain defiant against their increased presence in the mainstream. As much as ‘Cut and Run’ is Slaves’ attempt to appeal to the masses, it is undeniably fun and rather tongue in cheek, kinda like appearing on Sunday Brunch levels of cheek.
This little dance number breaks up the intensity that’s formed from opener ‘The Lives They Wish They Had’ and ‘Bugs’, two tracks that offer two of the heaviest guitar riffs on the record. The former allows Issac to go absolutely mental on the vocals, whilst the latter dabbles in some excellent use of hooks to make what’s quite the dirty little number into quite the catchy jam. To build on the point of tongue in cheek, these three songs are then followed up with ‘Magnolia’, which opens with a fact of how a lot of UK households have at least one magnolia wall. This becomes easily my favourite track on the record, some part helped by it’s use of Cowbell, as well as informing my information on a majority of people’s decorative choices.
Acts of Fear and Love is another superb album from Slaves. The duo use their limited number of hands to their advantage and produces songs with solid drums and riffs throughout, while using their fearless nature to explore any and all direction available to them. To be four records in and to produce some of their best material yet (here’s where I throw some love to ‘Photo Opportunity’) while also sounding fresh is quite the feat, and long may Slaves continue.