By Jason Herring, January 26 2016 —
Silence Yourself, Savages’ 2013 debut, silenced many of their critics. The London post-punk group burst onto the scene with a fully formed sound, creating heavy, aggressive punk where every bass riff and snare hit feels painstakingly calculated. In a genre typically characterized by chaos and spontaneity, Savages subverts those expectations.
Their new album, Adore Life, uses many of the same tools that made their debut so successful. At the band’s core is frontwoman Jehnny Beth, whose vocals are the highlight of nearly every track.
On songs like “Surrender,” her striking, brazen voice calls back to Kim Gordon’s exceptional work with Sonic Youth.
Beth spends most of Adore Life reflecting on non-romantic love. Her pervading attitude is best summed up in “Sad Person,” where she sings “love is a disease, the strongest addiction I know.”
It’s not a coincidence that love is the primary focus of the album’s best track, “The Answer,” which kicks off Adore Life as a blistering cut driven by repetitive, pounding drums. “Love is the answer,” Beth chants menacingly throughout the song, and it’s hard to tell whether or not the sentiment is sincere.
A lot of introspection lies beyond the intense and often suffocating instrumentals of Adore Life. “Evil” is a frenzied attack on homophobia, while “I Need Something New” grapples with lethargy over an unsteady beat. And “Adore” poses the question of if it’s okay to enjoy life even though there are countless injustices in the world.
The few tracks where Savages stray from their thoughtfulness and decisive songwriting are the album’s only flaws, like “T.I.W.Y.G.,” a messy and directionless song you’d expect even the Ramones to leave on the cutting room floor.
But there’s more than enough material on Adore Life worth checking out. Savages’ sophomore album is another captivating post-punk release from a band you can expect to be one of the genre’s front-runners for years to come.