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We’ve seen it before – the slick black clothes, the wiry frames, the constant smell of death in the air like we’re sitting in a taxidermist’s window display.
Post rock or post punk as a genre is one that has worn very thin. There are few bands that are pushing the medium or breaking ground that hasn’t already been sledgehammered long ago. It’s remarkably easy/lazy to draw comparisons to Joy Division or Slint or Interpol without even trying as a critic – and have a cavalcade of traditionalists and experts agree with you whole heartedly.
And to me Savages, to listen to their music, to take note of their total and utter control over their sound and look and presentation – every fibre of my being wants to dismiss them as being completely contrived and calculated.
Yet here I sit, listening to their sophomore record Adore Life for the fifth time, completely and utterly mesmerised.
Just like the first time I watched their latest video for Adore last week, when I was transfixed like a doe in the headlights by frontwoman Jehnny Beth’s gigantic almond eyes – I couldn’t pull away even for a second for fear I’d missed what came next.
It’s that calculation you see – that insane and delicate attention to detail that makes Adore Life simply stunning. Beth’s croon leads you through the maze like a malevolent circus master – from opening war cry The Answer, to the watershed moment ‘Adore Life’ all the way through to the final cut of the blade in Mechanics.
And while she shouts into the bull horn, Gemma Thompson’s guitar lines drop in and out of your ears like shards of shattered glass, Faye Milton’s rhythms are tribal, unrelenting and hypnotic, rumbling through the record like the waves of an earthquake. And below it all Ayse Hassan’s surging river of molten lava bass lines ooze their way into and suffocate every nook and crevice left behind.
There isn’t a breathe beat or pluck out of place. It all fits into place like thin cold rods of a pin art frame – all locking together in unison to leave a distinct impression behind.
And despite that shiny, stainless steel, teflon covered surface, below is an energy, a heat, a danger that makes you continually reach out to touch – no matter how much it singes and burns. You come back time and time again, leaving emotionally wounded and exhausted and somehow exhilarated by experiencing it again.
No – Savages aren’t reinventing the wheel here. But they’ve definitely screwed some slick as fuck rims on it and made it more than worthy of spinning again.