THE VELVET DITCH (SLAVES)

RELEASED 18TH JULY 2019

Favourite Track: When Will I Learn?

A fascinating EP that has a Heavy Metal sound, a 60s British Rock sound and a strange Deep South American sound. All delivered with vocals in a very British accent looking at seemingly mundane things made interesting

I have had never encountered the London-based (?) band known as Slaves. However, I am a girl who loves a good EP listen so I saw their latest one called The Velvet Ditch and instantly decided to review the 4-track compilation. The cover art of the album is quite ‘circus poster’ looking or maybe Looney Toons title screen looking. Either way, it was pretty theatrical until it got the creepy hand of what I think is meant to be a woman reaching out to you. It’s unsettling for sure (perhaps she’s leading us to the ditch behind some velvet curtains? I really don’t know). BUT what I did know was that I was intrigued for sure by this and couldn’t wait to listen to it.

Image credit: cardiffstudentmedia

The first track ‘One More Day Won’t Hurt’ has a very ROCK intro. The heavy guitar and percussion shocks you into their world. Then perhaps the most British sounding vocals to deliver an aggressive heavy metal sounding song come through. It appears to be about daily life and the struggle of how repetitive it is. There is kind of a social commentary going on here with the modern heavy metal attack thrown in. I mean you can bang your head to this kind of music for sure. There is a LOT of shouting and chaotic instrumentals but it’s unapologetic about shoving it all in your face. 

‘It Makes Me Sick’ opens with drum sticks hitting each other to count in to a burst of electric guitar once again but the percussion comes to a halt and then the guitar speeds up and the percussion joins at the same pace making for a very fast and intense song. It sounds like the music you would have in the chase scene in a film. Then the heavy metal vocals come in again talking about what makes him sick but also what turns him on. Interesting combination. You get a sense of both confusion and intrigue from the lead vocalist who ends the song taking deep breaths as he struggles to express his frustration.   

‘The Velvet Ditch’ is a weird slow song with acoustic ‘deep south’ American guitar with spoken vocals opening with “good evening boys and girls” with an echoed repeat in the background. I probably need to listen to this song (and all the others) to understand the ideas behind the lyrics because I’m sure you can’t really appreciate it all on the surface. I didn’t know what on earth to make of it to be honest. But it wasn’t boring at all. I loved the piano intro to ‘When Will I Learn?’. It was a lot slower but still had the rock style vocals delivered in a very British accent. I think the chord progression would open it up to being a very commercial Pop song but the rock vocal hall delivery and the very raw lyrics give it that old 60s British Rock edge where there is a real-life focus, monotonous singing and something quite relatable about it all.   

Great music for a Heavy Metal underground concert where you can really go wild and express all your energy.