Album Review - Savages

Adore Life

Anglo-French four-piece Savages created a splash with their 2013 debut, Silence Yourself.

They return with a second album that more than matches its predecessor for cathartic punch while conspicuously raising the songwriting threshold.

Much of Silence Yourself’s ardent clatter is preserved yet now the tumult is upholstered with crisp production and tracks that swirl mysteriously rather than trying to bludgeon the listener into submission.

What hasn’t changed is the suspicion that Savages are adeptly repurposing other people’s ideas. With a monochrome new wave aesthetic that lifts from the usual sources — Joy Division in the first instance — it is safe to fair to say that the ensemble have not set out to reinvent the post-punk wheel.

Lyrically, there are glimmers of ingenuity, it is true — no matter that frontwoman Jehnny Beth’s political tirades invariably segue into student-debate grade sermonising.

However, though the formula reads as undercooked and over-stretched, in the moment the quartet are eerily compelling. Indeed, Adore Life speaks to an admirable determination to progress their sound rather than simply refining the ideas . Most striking in that respect is single Adore, wherein Beth enunciates in a zen chant as riffs build tensely in the background (when the guitars finally take over it comes almost as a relief).

Elsewhere, the group shake the cobwebs off in more conventional fashion: The Answer blends imperious feedback and a rattling hook; on T.I.W.Y.G. white noise feedback is paired with a thumping groove.

Ardent art-pop delivered with true-believer zeal and lacking even a whiff of irony may sound impossibly quaint in 2016. But Savages prove that loud, angry music delivered honestly and with vehemence retains its capacity to knock the listener out of their comfort zone.

Ed Power


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