There are some music questions that will always inspire discussion. Elvis or the Beatles? Oasis or Blur? Is rock dead? Since 2015, one question, more than these, has troubled the greatest minds. With the benefit of historical distance we can finally pitch this politically charged and metaphysically resonant question. So…who WOULD win in a pillow fight, Slaves or Drenge? Online Editors Harry and Sam will be taking opposing sides, speaking for each of these grotty two-piece rock revivalists. Let’s begin:
SAM: Look, Slaves are pissed off around 96.5% of the time. They’re consistently failing to alert the middle classes to their brain-numbing “9 to 5” oppression and they still haven’t found Debbie’s Car. The days of punk may be largely over, but social discontent ain’t goin’ nowhere, son. The political elite are sapping our lifeblood. The media is brainwashing us all, capitalism is starving us of our humanity… gah, doesn’t it just light a fire in your belly? Slaves are bloody furious, and, what’s better, they have a cause. They love the world so much they’re genuinely outraged at the injustice and maltreatment in it, and they know how to express it. I think it’s therefore quite clear; these guys would be absolutely savage in a pillow fight. How could anyone not be with the tailwind of anti-capitalist revolution behind them? Drenge are a pair of dithering dunces compared to Slaves, too bland to make a difference, too apathetic to pick up a pillow.
HARRY: You want anger do ya? Don’t get me wrong, Slaves are obviously livid, but my Derbyshire darlings take the cake in a subtle way. Drenge may not have Isaac’s bellows, with bulging neck-veins that threaten oncoming aneurysms, but Eoin and Rory Loveless are nihilistically angry; they have the metaphysical high-ground, completely stripped of anything except a potent residual fury. Drenge songs pound with an unfaltering urgency, and where Slaves champion a twee dated 80s form of protest, Drenge drip with distilled resentment in its purest form. Their very name is a coarse onomatopoeia of their raw amorphous sound; nothing separates them from their most primal urges. The Slaves boys will just use the pillow fight like they use their Facebook page, as a vehicle to make ironic comments about middle England, with Lynx Africa and Ant and Dec based-satire. Geordie presenters won’t help you here, you cunts. Drenge have abandoned any preconceived morality that would stop them achieving plump pillowy domination. They’d batter Slaves with sacks of downy feathers without a flicker of compassion. You’re kidding yourself.
SAM: I’ve got one word for you, mate. Physicality. It doesn’t matter how much of a nihilist you are – you can’t do the damage without the weaponry. My boys have a honed arsenal, the whetstone of which is the raw, sweaty live act they pump out with such ferocity. Isaac pounds the drums like he’s pummeling two sorry little villagers with battle-axes akimbo. He’s jacked. And don’t get me started on Laurie – you know that spider’s web tattoo on the side of his face? Well, according to Urban Dictionary, that kind of tat signifies a person is “doing time”. Oh my golly, I hear you yelp, doing time for what? Did he shank someone with a mattress pad? I’d say. These guys are natural born aggressors and they know how to stick it to the enemy.
HARRY: I’ve got two and a half words for you. They resonate biblically. David ‘n’ Goliath. It don’t matter how meat-headed those Tunbridge dorks are, Drenge are nimble, and they’re fight-smart. Laurie’s spider’s web will only serve as a target for his sorry bonce. Laurie and Isaac may have stormed a few villages a long time ago, but these days they’re all over Live Lounge being noshed off by the likes of Clara Amfo and reaching for street cred by covering Skepta. They’ve sold out. Being hand-fed grapes by corporate lackeys makes you soft — doughy. Whereas, the Drenge lads have chosen to relocate to Sheffield of all places — a veritable slum — they’re still in touch with their roots. Drenge are aware they may still get into a fatal pillow fight whenever they walk out the door, but Slaves can’t even remember the last time they laid hand on the cotton.
SAM: Drenge are so pathetic they couldn’t even remain a two piece, they had to call for reinforcements because they “just needed to… like… flesh out the live sound, man.” You think you can phone a friend in a battle for soft and fluffy domination? Get real. If you can’t produce enough bass frequencies then you’re out of the game, there ain’t no two ways about it.
HARRY: As if bassman Rob Graham would qualify, the Loveless brothers are all the might required. Born of the same womb, they’re attuned to each other’s fighting instincts like scrapping jackal puppies.
SAM: Well, I suppose we’re going to have to do the inevitable here and “agree to disagree”. Feels like a bit of sellout for such a contentious issue. But I think it’s safe to say that Royal Blood would colossally clobber all these chumps.