January 29, 2016 Savages – Adore Life (Album Review)
Hailing from London, England, Post-Punk band Savages are a unique one. Forming back in 2011, this all-female band with France’s Jehnny Beth on vocals, Gemma Thompson on guitar, Ayse Hassan on bass, and Fay Milton on drums, possess a style that is difficult to categorize, but that is what is so compelling. Signing on with independent label Matador Records, they released their debut album, Silence Yourself, back in 2013 in coordination with Beth’s own label, Pop Noire. Immediately striking interest, the album was charted at number 19 on UK album charts, and 70 on the US album charts as well. Not bad for a debut, they were even on a short list for a Mercury Prize in 2013.
Now two years later, just when music lovers were sure that Punk was dead, Savages comes out with a new album that is sure to bring back anyone’s love of the genre. With that said, their newest album, Adore Life, was released January 22nd. An album rich with a positive concept, Adore Life’s main focus is changing, sticking to one’s ideals, living in the now, and being strong. It was recorded at RAK Studios in London and the team of Producer Johnny Hostile, Grammy-winning Engineer Richard Woodcraft, and Danish engineer Anders Trentemøller rounded out the overall sound of the ten tracks, which are already turning heads.
Starting things off is “The Answer” with a strong anthem-like chant of, “If you don’t love me, don’t love anybody.” The track is repetitive, making the chant a format throughout like a marching tune. “Evil” follows with a darker, deeper bass line and similar lyrics, and it has even got an almost Middle Eastern sound in the chorus. Then there is “Sad Person,” which has a beat that contradicts the title. While the listener may think the song is going to be slow, it then picks up with a quick tempo and is reminiscent of American Rock band The Donnas. One portion of the album title, “Adore” actually does slow down a bit with a haunting sound and, lyrically, it raises the question, “Is it human to adore life?” With that, it has that quintessential Punk Rock ballad feel and is quite a thought-provoking cut.
Continuing the slow jam vibes, “Slowing Down the World” is followed by “I Need Something New.” The latter starts off totally a cappella before continuing into a seductive bass and drum line, which by the end, turns into a total distortion of sound, slowing back into the calm silence of the beginning of the song. Then “When In Love” brings back the distortion before transitioning into a strong, quick Punk pace as Beth’s voice adds to the song’s strong lyricism. Showing diversity, “Surrender” adds a different kind of sound with the higher notes played by Thompson, but still, musically, Savages manage to keep with the overall sound of the album. Probably the speediest song on the album is “T.I.W.Y.G.,” which is an abbreviated version of “This is what you get,” and with its intensity, it may cause some listeners to want to mosh and crowd surf. Then, Adore Life concludes with “Mechanics,” one of the longest songs of the entire offering. It concludes the album masterfully as the whole piece relies on Beth’s vocals backed up by just the distortion of Thompson’s guitar. It is essentially a soundscape of a final goodbye.
Adore Life is an album that will make many listeners want to relive their Punk Rock days, or better yet, just continue their Punk Rock life. It covers all the bases of what makes a good Punk Rock album. Simply put, Savages is sure to have a listener banging their heads and thrashing about with their quick strum of chords, thumping of the drums, and meaningful lyrics on Adore Life. For a wonderful sophomore effort, Cryptic Rock gives this album a 4.5 out of 5 stars.