After forcing the world to sit up and listen with the caustic brand of post-punk noisiness of debut album Silence Yourself in 2013, London’s Savages are back with a second: the amazing Adore Life.
It’s our Album of the Week here at WOW247, but why?
Well, we’ll tell you why…
1. Getting your head around ‘The Answer’ has never felt so good
The record opens with ‘The Answer’, the first track that the band premiered officially from the new album, way back in the mists of time (October 2015).
Back then, we spoke of its accompanying video, but truth be told we couldn’t quite wrap our heads around its off-kilter rhythms. Boot up Adore Life a few times, and you’ll soon have its 6/8 (we think) signature figured, and its opening retort of “If you don’t love me, don’t love anybody” rattling around your head.
2. ‘Evil’ proves Savages can groove
Savages’ ability to turn out a more danceable track doesn’t necessarily need to be proven again (they did that already with ‘She Will’ from the first album), but boy do they do it anyway on Adore Life.
Second track ‘Evil’ is a beautiful marriage of hi-hats and deliberately plucked guitars that comes on like a dark Blondie, and ‘Sad Person’ hurtles along with the best of Can’s output.
3. It’s full of love songs
Far be it from us to recommend an record full of gushy weepers, but Savages’ second LP tackles love head on, treating it with a kind of fascinated respect, like an elemental and all-consuming force.
If that all sounds a bit philosophical, that’s because it is, and Adore Life isn’t so much “ooh baby I love you”, as “ooh baby I love you… and that’s the problem”, approaching pop music’s most tread thematic path from a new angle that most bands would be far too afraid to touch.
4. It’s what you expect from Savages (and that’s a good thing)
Speaking from a purely personal standpoint, when I first heard Savages’ first album, it didn’t stack up to the expectations I had gathered through reading reviews of punktastic feedback freakouts and aggression heavy guitars.
I’d even go so far as to say I wasn’t a fan of the band because of this. But Adore Life comes close to replicating the sounds I had in my head before I’d heard that first album. Which is odd because…
5. It’s surprisingly soft
It certainly has its moments. The tumbling bassline and overboiling guitars of ‘When In Love’ stand out as a highlight towards the more ferocious end of Savages’ aural spectrum, but for every corrosive post-punk expulsion, there’s the steady bubbling static of the considered ‘Adore’, or the incidental soundscape of close ‘Mechanics’.
For all of Savages’ black-clad press shots, moody, middle distance stares and propensity for acrid guitar squall, you’d be forgiven for thinking them a pretty intimidating bunch.
“I’m not gonna hurt you because I’m flirting with you,” sings Jehnny Beth on ‘Sad Person’, instantly putting everyone at ease.
6. It’s a more well-rounded record than their debut
As great as that first record was (I’ve gone back and listened to it after Adore Life and it’s growing on me), and as great as every sandblasting moment of guitar noise savagery was, it did at times skirt dangerously close to being a one-trick pony.
That trick was somersaulting through a flaming ring of fire, but it was still a bit one-trick nonetheless.
Adore Life covers all of Savages’ moods; from noisy to quiet, to thunderously pacey, to considered and calm. It’s all in there.
7. The bass on ‘T.I.W.Y.G’
We’re speaking to the production values of the album here, but we just couldn’t go on without mentioning the amazing bass work of ‘T.I.W.Y.G’, which provides a deliriously uncomfortable listen as it seemingly falls out of tune with itself while providing the track’s rhythmic backbone.
A great mix of sounds permeates the whole record, but a deft handling of the recording desk is most apparent here.
8. They’re willing to get up early for you
— Savages (@Savagesband) January 26, 2016
We’re not entirely sure what an average day in the life of Savages was like during the production of this record, but if a gig earlier this week is anything to go by, we’re sure they were putting in the hours.
The band played London’s famous 100 Club venue as part of Independent Venue Week, with one major difference: the performance started at 8am.
Despite the early start, fans queued around the block up to a couple of hours before the doors opened, and the place was rammed before London’s street had a chance to clog with rush hour congestion.