If you’ve been in the scene for any amount of time, you’ve most likely heard the name Jonny Craig floating around. Even if you haven’t listen to one of his numerous bands, or his awful solo project, the name has unfortunately become synonymous with post-hardcore in the last five or so years. From the countless strung-out Warped Tour performances to the infamous laptop scandal, Jonny Craig has made himself into quite the tyrant in the scene. He has had many failed attempts at creating bands over the years, but the most recent is a band by the name of Slaves. In January of 2019, it was announced that Craig would be leaving the band due to his inability to control his substance abuse. Later, the band revealed that the breaking point for his removal was as they were at the airport leaving for their European tour, Craig called them stating that he would not be coming on the tour as he was admitting himself to rehab that day. Needing a replacement, they contacted Matt McAndrew, who was runner up on Season 7 of NBC’s The Voice; he accompanied them as lead singer on their European tour in January of 2019, and he is now the permanent lead vocalist.
Since Matt McAndrew’s entry, Slaves has released three singles—“Heavier” on July 26 of 2019, “Prayers” on November 22 of 2019, and “Bury A Lie” on January 1 of 2020. While all three singles are absolutely fantastic, my personal favorite is “Prayers” by a landslide. The guitar riff repeated throughout the song is not only just melodically infectious, it is also layered with an incredible octave effect that is unlike anything I’ve ever heard. Matt McAndrew truly shines in this single, with a beautiful mix between grunge and clean vocals, and overall it’s just a wonderful song. That being said, all three singles are marvelous and definitely worth a listen.
According to Genius, these singles are building up to an album called To Better Days, and they have given Slaves a new and different sound from their Jonny Craig days. My hope for this theoretical new album is a renaissance of Slaves as their predecessors, Emarosa and Dance Gavin Dance, have had before them.