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Friday, January 10, 2014

Savages - Silence Yourself

One thing I respond very positively towards in music is fury. It's an emotion I invariably find thrilling and intoxicating; the energy expressed, whether it's a fury born of rage and anger or of exultation and delight, rushes straight through my entire body akin to a full-on adrenaline rush that makes me want to leap out of my chair and dance until I collapse from exhaustion. It's the thing that initially attracted me to dance music and tends to inform the rock music I listen to.

Another component I really dig is craftmanship. A band that works together like a well-oiled machine will almost always score bonus points with me, partially because of the respect I have for the time and effort required to create that type of seamless-seeming performance synergy.

When I first encountered Savages, it was via an appearance on "Later with Jools Holland" where they performed the song "Husbands". I won't lie; the band had about a 70% chance of winning me over before they ever played a note. Four women, mostly in black, standing on stage as feedback came up around them... this wasn't going to be a snuggly, comforting performance. Then, the drums started up, followed by that rolling bass, and I was completely, totally entranced. I felt like I had been transported back to 1980 and was watching a band that one day would be mentioned alongside The Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees as a mainstream-yet-subculture juggernaut that would rip your face off in the most professional way possible. This was exactly my type of fury; harsh, discordant, yelpy, elegant, musical, precise, wonderful. The album expands upon all of those, ranging from all-out squall ("Hit Me", "No Face") to gentler, more reflective songs that still contain steel ("Waiting For A Sign", "Marshal Dear"). I've read a lot of people poo-poohing the album as Yet Another Post-Punk retread with lots of comparisons to Joy Division and Interpol, which frankly is bananas; there's more punk in here than that, and more precision as well (and, quite frankly, if an Interpol album exists that has even half the energy of this one, someone point me towards it immediately because everything I've heard by them has been soooooooooo enervating and boring). If I was going to point to a forebear, it would be Bauhaus. However, I'd much rather press play and pogo to the break at the beginning of the chorus to "She Will".

Savages - Silence Yourself on Spotify.

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