Way back in the earliest of entries on this blog I picked out a Slaves track for it’s point of difference to the rest of their output. As I look back at the songs between there and here it occurs to me I should include one that is representative of what these couple of Kentish boys do most of the time.
The first Slaves song that leaps to mind for me is their early single Sockets. It’s a battery on the tongue of a tune. Equal parts catchy and ferocious.
Compared to their other early singles The Hunter, Cheer Up London, Where’s Your Car Debbie? the most shocking thing about Sockets is it’s subject matter. Most of Slaves output comes to the listener with a skewed subject matter that befits the stripped down rawness. Sockets is a song about a pretty girl.
“It wasn’t her fault she makes sugar taste like salt ’cause she was so sweet, now you’re shuffling your feet with your hands in your pockets”
It’s an uneasy feeling hearing essentially complimentary things being said about someone with such ragged urgency. You can feel there’s a kicker coming. A ‘but’ that changes this ode to beauty to a cautionary tale or a horror show.
“She doesn’t know if it’s a blessing or a curse, money in her hand but never any in her purse, looking at the crowd thinking “who’s it gonna be? Who’s the lucky boy that’s gonna quench my thirst?””
Are there overtones here? Is this girl Scarlett Johansson in Under The Skin? Is she a blood sucking vampire? Nope, that line of inquiry doesn’t go anywhere.
“It wasn’t her fault that she didn’t have a say, spending every second wishing they would go away, tying up my shoes is becoming a problem but that’s the way it is and that’s the way it’s gonna stay”
OK so does something terrible happen to her? Or is this just about unsolicited attention? What Slaves do so marvellously here is present a scenario we can all understand and recognise as common place, and in their tone and presentation suggest all is not as it should be.
The repeated refrain protesting the girls innocence with the opening statement.
“It wasn’t her fault”
What it was is left up to the listener.