Album Review: Savages – Adore Life

Published by JB
Release date:  January 22, 2016

SavagesAdore Life ( 7/10)

What is the point
To cry for life
To cry about love
To wait for her
To wait for dying
I can’t wait” from ‘The Answer’ by The Savages.

“I’ll go insane” wails the mighty and bold Jehnny Beth; the leading face of the London-based, bad ass alt-punk-rock quartet, Savages, during the band’s opening track ‘The Answer’ from their sophomore release, Adore Life.

As with their debut, 2013’s Silence Yourself the Savages plan to bury the listener with dark, brooding tracks that try damn hard to pound into the listener’s soul.  Somewhere in the world lonely teenagers are loving this album.  That’s never more apparent than the album’s title track and obvious centerpiece, ‘Adore’.   ‘Adore’s shivering, pounding melody is a 5-minute build-up that nearly burns the rest of the album into irrelevancy.   It’s the type of track that the Savages clearly search for throughout most of the album.  It hits their mark perfectly with its eerie, hair-raising, apocalyptic feel and for the time being, ‘Adore’ will be their stake in the ground as their landmark track.   And well earned; the track is beautiful.

As ‘Adore’ concludes the nearly bubbly beat and shoegazey guitars of ‘Slowing Down the World’ picks up the pace.   It’s certainly no letdown after the title track brings the album to an epic, breathtaking standstill.   Beth’s screams during ‘Slowing Down’ pierce the darkness of this track and you can sense the soulful, pounding drive that she yearns for during the remainder of a very fine 2nd album.   Not every song works, and redundancy is the enemy here.  But there’s clearly greatness at times helping overcome a deficit in great songwriting.  Savages are as much interesting as they are good.  As that interest begins to wane in years ahead the songs will need to improve more.

Cosmetically, the album cover, title and choice of colors (well, black and white) are perfect here.   Mixing the imagination of the listener with the riveting cover image and Beth’s vocals is a potent combination.   The earth-crashing, pulsating vibe of the tracks plays right into the do-it-yourself visual where the listener can imagine Beth screaming into the mic at a dark nightclub.   Sometimes less is more and the album art and vinyl provide that dark world where life is dominated by deep stares, cranked guitars, wailing lyrics and pounding drums.

–TWTHS

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