Savages – Adore Life
Released January 22nd, 2016 on Matador Records
London’s Savages came roaring out of the underground in 2013 with Silence Yourself, a stunning debut rife with jagged edges and bearing the tattered, smoke-stained marks of a life of listening to Siouxsie & The Banshees, Joy Division, and Public Image Ltd. On the strength of singles like “Husbands” and “She Will”, the band staked their claim to being the most exciting post-punk band in years. Their follow-up sophomore album smooths out some of the jagged early-Eighties spikes but turns up the volume even louder, bringing us closer to the days of Seattle grunge more than the brutal recession of England during Thatcher’s first term. The guitar riffs are brought to the forefront, cutting through the noise on tracks like “The Answer”, “Evil”, and the late cavalry charge of “T.I.W.Y.G.”. Jenny Beth’s songwriting takes a different tactic as well. Silence Yourself was a duality, a balance between pain and love; often it was difficult to decide whether the basis for her churning lyrics were domestic abuse or rough consensual sex. Adore Life delves into her thoughts on love itself. The answer of “The Answer” is love; she knows that if she and her unnamed object of affection were to sleep together they would remain friends, but she has to confess her love for him regardless. “Sad Person” is her descriptor for herself, describing herself as “never satisfied” and wondering why she hesitates to give in and just love (while simultaneously describing love as “a disease” and comparing it to the rush and subsequent addiction of cocaine). “Adore” brings about the central conceit of the record: Is it human to adore life? Just in case she dies tomorrow, she has to say that she does, but is it normal? Is it right? As “Sad Person” alludes, she can’t stop her overactive brain from chasing this question around and around her head when she’s just trying to get some rest. I know the feeling, all too well.
Adore Life is a fine follow-up to Silence Yourself, although the middle of the record tends to fuse itself together into a morass of mid-tempo throbbing guitar lines peppered with Beth’s obsessive yelp. There are as many utterly urgent cuts here as there were there, however, and they’ll have you questioning your own assumptions on the nature of relationships for the rest of the year.