27 August 2016

Savages - Adore Life

The second album I've been given to review for this years Mercury Awards is also the second album by London-based Post Punk band Savages. It's also the second time they've been nominated for a Mercury Award following their debut Silence Yourself in 2013. Chris reviewed that album back then so it's also the second time they've been reviewed by this blog. Jolly good.

I was aware of the band before this review and had a reasonable idea of what to expect but hadn't actually heard them. A few people I know like them so I'm assuming I will too but we'll see.
Normally when I review albums I have a quick google for other reviews, just in case people pick up on something I missed or to make sure I'm not repeating something someone else has said. With Savages it appears that I should have no such worry as they're the kind of band that attracts a certain type of journa- reviewer, one that is incredibly fond of their own, sumptuous vocabulary. Where I might say a song has a pretty good riff they would describe it as, for example, "a glorious conflagration of noncombustible ebullience!". I started reading three different reviews and gave up halfway through them all.

There'll be no plagiarism here today.

Right anyway, The first track is The Answer, it's an angry bitter song of unrequited love, based around a brooding, lurching guitar riff. It's an effective opening track. immediately obvious is Jehnny Beth's peculiar voice. She's French by birth and her accent comes through clearly. There was something else about her voice that niggled me but I couldn't place it. It wasn't until I read on t'Wiki that Siouxsie And The Banshees were an influence on their sound that it clicked. There are similarities between both ladies' howls. It's not a bad thing.

 Next up, Evil lowers the pace somewhat but is still an energetic song. It's driven by an almost disco beat from Fay Milton and there's some nice jangly, reverby guitar from Gemma Thompson too. Is reverby a word?
Sad Person starts offs sounding like The Fall, Jehnny even infects the same way Mark E. Smith does a bit, it picks up pace gradually and becomes a full on Rock song and, again, seems to be about unrequited love. Actually it's more about not taking things further with someone because of fear and self doubt. It's an excellent song.

Semi-title track Adore follows next and it's a slow, minimal piece of melancholy that takes a couple of listens to fully appreciate. The "Maybe I will die maybe tomorrow". line of the chorus reminds me of The Smiths / Morrissey in it's melody and I guess theme,

L-R - Fay, Gemma, Jehnny and Ayse

Following that is Slowing Down The World is a meandering, introspective song with a pretty melody. It's a good song but next to Adore it weighs down the middle of the album and slows the pace too much. I Need Something New seems to continue the slower pace, beginning with Jehnny singing acapella but it builds in intensity and becomes an impressive wall of noise.
When In Love is a mid paced Indie Rocker that descends into chaotic feedback and Surrender is full of droning bass that rattles the speakers even on my shitty, tinny laptop. T.I.W.Y.G is the most frenetic song on Adore Life it powers along on Punk-fueled energy with an immense bassline and the repeated mantra of "This is what you get when you mess with love". It's a glorious conflagration of noncombustible ebullience.

The closing track, Mechanics, is a stark contract to T.I.W.Y.G. it's a slow, atmospheric song with more feedback and reverb though this time it's ominous and haunting. lyrically the song is about wanting to know how love works and picking it apart. It's a disturbing and creepy listen but works really well and is an excellent way to close the album.

The production of Adore Life is really good. It's very bass heavy but also crystal clear and each band member is perfectly audible. The production obviously benefits bassist Ayse Hassan who shines on every track. I've just read Chris's review of their debut and he says the same which I was pleased about.
I don't know how this will fare in the Mercury, even if David 'dead now' Bowie wasn't nominated but it's an excellent album and deserves to do well.

8 out of 10 - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart

Best track: Sad Person

You can read Chris's review of Silence Yourself  HERE

You can listen on Spotify HERE

You can buy on Amazon HERE

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