Album Review: Savages – Adore Life

By on Wednesday, 27th January 2016 at 12:00 pm

Savages Adore Life album coverPost-punk heirs Savages are back and sounding more vicious than ever. Their sophomore effort ‘Adore Life’, the follow up to 2013’s ‘Silence Yourself’, is another fine example of a genre that, for a while, has been hidden in the junk cupboard of musical history. The four members of Savages, led at the helm by the ferociously prowling Jehnny Beth, are bringing forth a change in attitude to both the genre they’re front-running and women in music, through their snarl and bite. And this is most evident in this second effort.

The album opens with ‘The Answer’ (reviewed previously here): a wild, ravenous track that almost runs in circles with its continuation in riff and power. A manic guitar brings us in before being joined by Beth singing, “if you don’t love me, don’t love anybody, ain’t you glad it’s you?” Once the rest of the band kicks in, it’s chaos with the greatest aplomb. The abrupt end which leads straight into second track ‘Evil’ continues the ravenousness that consumes this record, featuring a prowling bass line and guitars that sit above it, haunting it.

In terms of Beth’s voice, she manages to use her howling natural sound, whilst simultaneously calling to mind other ‘80s post-punk leading members such as David Byrne. This can be heard somewhat in the previous song, but more so within ‘Sad Person’, almost becoming a female incarnation of Byrne. Similarly, within the chorus to ‘Adore’, the band shift into a modern equivalent of The Smiths, particularly with Beth’s Morrissey-esque howls of “maybe I will die tomorrow, so I need to say”.


You can clearly hear these influences, as well as many more, throughout the record, which is both a blessing and a curse. The ferociousness Savages bring to the record is, as previously mentioned, a new spark in a genre that has sat at the back of the classroom for too long so to speak, but the idea behind post-punk initially was to do something new, something fresh that moved the world forward. Of course, this shouldn’t take away from what they have created here, but at times it seems they’ve used a cheat sheet in certain places.

The second half of the record is where things truly pick up. ‘I Need Something New’ and ‘When in Love’ are fine cuts, closely resembling the first two tracks, but ‘Surrender’ brings out experimentation with sound. The track is ruled by the bass guitar, or rather a wall of bass guitars: it’s a terrifying sound to behold in the greatest possible way. The rest of the track is mixed below this noisy behemoth to accentuate the power and force intended. ‘T.I.W.Y.G’ picks up the pace drastically, with the rhythm section reaching a point of near insanity. Beth’s warning of “this is what you get if you mess with love” carries on the message that is seen throughout the record, that of if you’re going fuck with anyone, don’t let it be Savages, because they take nothing from nobody.

Finale ‘Mechanics’ is the longest cut on the album, and is where the band reach into the depths of their haunting and experimental abilities. With no real riff or chord pattern per se, it’s more an acclamation of reverb drenched guitars run through processors to create sounds that wouldn’t be amiss in a haunted house. Surprisingly, it doesn’t really reach a point of climax until the final 5 seconds that sees unnatural sounding feedback, almost to the point of white noise, taking control and as abruptly as the record began it ends.

Throughout the album, Savages come across as a force of nature, with unbridled power that harnesses the absolute serendipity brought with insanity. It’s a solid sophomore record that should see Savages grow larger in strength and come back to us with a third album that will in doubt be so beautifully ostentatious, we will enter a new post-punk era.


The second Savages LP ‘Adore Life’ is out now via Matador Records. They’ll be on tour in February and March 2016 in the UK. Read other articles on Savages on TGTF here.

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