January 14, 2019 Slaves – Revision (EP Review)
To see an artist with new eyes is such a delight. More artists in this age are going beyond the scope and trying new things, revamping their sound, or simply not giving a hoot where their musical journey takes them. That in mind, Sacramento, CA’s Slaves shed a new light on some older and recently released material, as well as two brand new tracks with their upcoming EP, Revision, out January 18th via SBG Records.
Formed in 2014, creatively, Slaves is at an all-time high in their career. Having previously woven in and out of several recording labels, the resilience has only driven the band to remain strong, hopeful, and limitless. The band released their third LP, Beautiful Death, earlier last year, with Revision being their first EP release since. Currently consisting of Jonny Craig (vocals), Colin Viera (bass), Weston Richmond (guitar), Felipe Sanchez (guitar), and Zack Baker (drums), the band delivers an exceptionally composed piece of work.
Among the two new tracks, “Body On Fire” holds as the new single off of Revisions. Solemnly sweet guitar showcase the pure acoustic track in its rawest form. This is while gentle snaps and coarse tambourine taps grip you as Craig opens up on his feelings for a woman. The track holds as seductive and suggestive without turning crude, as he says, “for once it feels right… I never saw myself catching these feelings.“
The other new track, “Down For The Ride,” features higher yet softer background vocals from Jessie Abbey. The contrast of her voice with Craig’s vocals, as he sings about getting lost in his thoughts and emotions of not wanting to lose the love and support of another, are driving as honesty spills over.
As for the acoustic renditions, once high energy, explosive songs “I’d Rather See Your Heart Explode” and “True Colors” now almost play as lullabies. Craig’s vocal talent shines bright while it is just as easy to get lost in the melodies as in the originals. There is a small emphasis on the soft blow of the drums while guitars and strings hold the meaty components. Additionally, there is an interesting take on “True Colors,” as the strum pattern sharing similarities from Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me A River,” a track Craig has covered in the past. The pattern creates a sneaky feeling while the funky bass in the second verse adds life and to the aggressive attitude.
However, the two new recordings that make the most impact are those of “The Pact” and “My Soul Is Empty And Full Of White Girls.” Ever since Beautiful Death was released, there were deep hopes of an acoustic rendition of emotionally driven “The Pact.” Now a reality, the softer synths and keys cradle Craig’s voice as he opens up about his past and demons. The different take transitioning into the second verse with an indistinguishable distinction between guitar and harp is simply brilliant.
Furthermore, what originally carried a number of electronic features and one of their heaviest singles to date, “My Soul Is Empty and Full of White Girls,” can now be heard ever so simply. The number falls from their debut, 2014 LP release, Through Art We Are All Equals, and this new rendition is really something else. Opening as a transparent version to do its story justice of the personal demons Craig faced, it closes a chapter on the obscure past.
Revision is overall a soulful and intimate EP. Every artist should have some type of acoustic release within their career, and Slaves nailed theirs. Displaying the soul and honesty that went into each piece, Cryptic Rock gives Slaves’ Revision 5 out of 5 stars.