In early 2013, Savages announced themselves as one of the most exciting bands around with their ruthless, no-nonsense debut Silence Yourself. The band’s fiendishly retro, cranked up, bass-driven punk rock, brilliantly enforced by the wailing, Siouxsie Sioux-brand vocals of singer Jehnny Beth, certainly raised the pulses and were a suitably effervescent elixir for a market increasingly dominated by dreary singer-songwriters. Their nomination for the Mercury Prize was an impressive feat, their return home empty-handed a predictable cop-out, yet less than three years on and the London group have still not completed their impressive post-punk revival, and we’re all the better for it.
Having established such a platform with their debut they would’ve been mad to throw away the blueprint, so while there hasn’t been a dramatic shift in style on new LP Adore Life, Savages have made some intriguing tweaks to their sound. For starters, they actually sound like they’re enjoying themselves this time around, their gritty, morose resonance perking up hugely in places. Songs like ‘The Answer’, ‘Evil’ and ‘TIWYG’ are noticeably more revved up, adding a massive injection of pace, and giving Beth the chance to go full-on rock star.
The band maintain the simplistic structure that made Silence Yourself such a routine success, keeping tracks short and sweet, in addition to striking a firm balance between the high-octane numbers, and the more industrial, atmospheric tunes like ‘I Need Something New’, ‘Mechanics’ and ‘Adore’. Overall you could make the argument that Adore Life is a less challenging, rather risk-averse version of its predecessor, and therefore a more ‘compromised’ record as a result. These perceptions aside however, there’s still plenty to enjoy here.
Savages’ relentless unbridled energy shows no sign of abating for one, while their refreshingly minimalist approach to making music continues to pay dividends. In fact, if you consider that Adore Life has very much kept the fires of their debut burning, while implementing looser riffs, stronger hooks, and a more energetic playing style that will surely reap the benefits of greater mass appeal, it could very well end up being the record that defines them.