Is there much to be positive about? Last year ended with a disgraceful attack of terror across Paris and then ensuing bombing runs over Syria. 2016 has begun with North Korea testing an H-bomb, violence on the streets of Jakarta, then David Bowie died followed quickly by Alan Rickman – shit things are bleak. But, life is not to wallow in sadness, we should be thankful for what we have and those we love. This is the modus operandi of Savages’ sophomore LP entitled ‘Adore Life’. The four piece have carved out a record that screams defiance as if to eyeball any bastard that would dare pour cold water on their fire of positivity. Even down to the album cover, a mighty clenched fist that invokes the notions of determination and empowerment.
On their debut LP ‘Silence Yourself’ Savages were an acerbic, dark contorted blur of post-punk rhythms that surged with a mechanical intensity. Sonically a tour-de-force and brilliantly intimidating. ‘Adore Life’ maintains a noir aesthetic but with lighter shades poking out from the cracks. If ‘Silence Yourself’ was a jackboot to the side of the head, ‘Adore Life’ is an outstretched hand and a guiding light in a world that feels pitch black. It’s a beguiling juxtaposition that Savages have manifested here; take opening gambit and lead single ‘The Answer’, a song that sounds like a revving motorbike falling down a fire escape – it’s fierce and sonically aggressive but floating above the melee you can hear the words “love is the answer”. The urge for a different outlook and a refreshed state of mind courses through ‘I Need Something New’ where vocalist Jehnny Beth chants the track’s moniker over a squall of metallic guitars and mangled drum licks.
‘Adore Life’ is a celebration of sorts; it’s an album that makes you puff your chest out, the kind of soundtrack to take on the world. ‘Evil’ is a cautionary tale to anyone downtrodden by their peers or their own self-doubt. “Don’t try to change/don’t try to change/or they will hurt you/they will break you down” coos Beth like a lighthouse signalling us away from the jagged, unforgiving rocks of society. Opting for a calmer, more atmospheric hum the album’s eponymous moment is a reflective din which has Beth ponder “Is it human to adore life?” as if it’s not part of the human condition. The song concludes with a rushing crescendo of noise and the song’s title cooed with almost angelic tones. Further societal proclamations are dealt with on ‘Slowing Down The World’, the quartet dispense with long and definite shards of noise that wrap themselves around the notion of applying the brakes in our ever increasing million-a-minute lifestyles. Although a choice lyric of “you are horny/all the time/darlin’ it’s not a crime” adds a provocative slant to dropping the pace in a carnal, animal lust kind of way. This isn’t the only time ‘Adore Life’ cavorts in a sensual manner, after all with an album that pivots heavily on love, sex isn’t normally far behind.
‘Adore Life’ is where noise and distortion unites with themes of love, togetherness and the quest for something better. This is what Savages have to say and by God they’ll make you pay attention.
Words and thoughts of Adam Williams