In 2013, Savages announced themselves in a big way with their debut ‘Silence Yourself’. It wasn’t as the next big thing or a parody of 90s rock hedonism. No, it was as the most necessary band of the decade. Their searing moodiness and enamel stripping guitar playing was so immediate that, any long term plans seemed out of the question.
All classic albums begin with a track which creates a platform for everyone to blindly follow their heroes into battle with. ‘The Answer’ just does that with 3 minutes of filthy punk rock. Despite this, it’s the more refined guitar solo which sets the tone for what is to come. ‘Adore Life’ is the sound of a band outrunning the tumultuous sound of their debut.
Lyrically, the album broaches the age old subject of love. Interestingly though, it hones in on the darker facets of the discourse. ‘Adore’ is a modern take on The Smiths’ ‘There Is A Light Never Goes Out’. It’s a melancholic ballad a la PJ Harvey which hits euphoric heights when Jenny Beth sings ‘I understand the urgency of life / In the distance there is truth which cuts like a knife / Maybe I will die maybe tomorrow so I need to say / I adore life’.
What makes ‘Adore’ a great song is the harrowing landscape it operates within. Its impossible to not think of Ian Curtis or Kurt Cobain’s tragic suicides as Beth sings ‘If only I had been more shy / and hid every tear I cried/ If only I didn’t wish to die / Is it human to adore life?’
The more far-reaching output continues on ‘Slowing Down The World’. Killer bass lines and guitar riffs have not been issue in their career to date. Here though, they allow their post-punk style room to breathe. The main guitar hook has a Television circa ‘Marquee Moon’ feel whist the slower but equally aggressive basslines are reminiscent of BRMC.
The up-tempo tracks also have a more accessible quality to them this time round. ‘When In Love’ instantly brings to mind Joy Division with its undeniable hook and sense of desolation. The way it has you on tenterhooks waiting to explode but never does is exhilarating. Time with Bo Ningen is time well spent it seems.
As the album draws to an end, there is a potential glimpse at where Savages are going next. ‘Surrender’ and ‘T.I.W.Y.G’ introduce musical styles not seen before. The apocalyptic production on ‘Surrender’ creates a kind of electro post-punk vibe which, as PiL have proven, has endless creative avenues. ‘T.I.W.Y.G’ is the kind of fall to the floor dancefloor banger that The Music or Radio 4 did so well in the mid noughties.
‘Adore Life’ is an album that delivers on the potential of the debut and explores new realms and thus, offers yet more prospects. Savages are, without doubt, a great band and should be obsessed over by teenagers, and reawaken their parents’ youth simultaneously. Go. Buy. This. Record.