​slaves release new video for cheer up london

It’s a simple and playful track that seems to speak to some serious social and political issues.

by Charlotte Gush
11 May 2015, 12:25am

British punk band Slaves have released a new video for album track Cheer Up London, a deceptively simple polemic aimed at miserable Londoners on public transport. The band recently relocated from Tunbridge Wells to London whilst writing their upcoming debut album Are You Satisfied? (out 1 June). "Issac walks around all the time on public transport muttering 'Cheer up London' under his breath to angry passengers. I've seen him do it quite a lot," Laurie told Radio 1's Huw Stephens.

The video starts with an angry cyclist having a go at a van driver, before moving on to stressed rat racers on mobile phones and finally people on the bus, with the Slaves duo and Shaun Williamson (Barry from Eastenders) spreading (somewhat aggressive) cheer with cheerleaders, balloons and ice cream. "We are all slaves in this modern age," Isaac and Laurie wrote on their Facebook page on Monday, in defence of their band name, explaining that, "Our name and music is aimed at being a slave to day-to-day life and routine, it is a metaphorical use of the word".

"Cheer up London; It's not that bad; How can it be so bad; When you're already dead?" the song chorus challenges. The underlying message seems to be: You sold yourself out to corporate slavery; there are alternative lifestyles, but you chose the rat race. "Are you happy? If you're not, why not change it? Pick up a guitar, do a drawing, anything you want. Take control," their Facebook message urged. This week more than ever, its tongue-in-cheek lyrics seem to shout: You just voted in a Tory government who'll protect the big business you've enslaved yourself to, so cheer up, you're already dead.

But there's a glimmer of hope from the band too. Laurie also told Radio 1 that the album is about, "getting up and doing something; there is [even] a track called Do Something. It's focussed at people... the music's meant to pump people up, it's all about interaction and making something of yourself." It might be a very simple and even playful song, but it echoes the voice of anti-austerity campaigners across the UK these last few days in its assertion that we must do something to fight against our enslavement to corporations, not just look miserable about it.