Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Savage Orders

Savages seem to love a good imperative. Their first album, released in 2013, was called Silence Yourself; it opened with a track named Shut Up.

The band released their second album last month, and this one bears a far less intimidating command on its front cover:

In many ways, Adore Life is the polar opposite of its predecessor. The album's artwork is dominated by blinding white instead of doomy black; the title suggests something celebratory and ultra-positive. Instead of ordering listeners to shut their mouths and remove their voices from life's dumb, distracting cacophony, these songs extend an inviting hand and offer you a world that's free of suffocating restrictions, a world of freedom, love, sex, and chaos.

In Evil - one of the record's best tracks - society is marked out as a nefarious, manipulative enemy: "They will try to make you stay/Steal the beats away from you/Soak your actions in self-doubt/If you don't live the way they like".

Opening track The Answer implores the listener to "please stand up", to "cry for life". The lyrics state that "love is the answer"; in a recent press release, the band stated that the song is "about love, every kind of love".

Of course, while the Adore Life's big message seems to be far less confrontational than that of Silence Yourself, the band are still making thrillingly confrontational music. Songs like The Answer and I Need Something New attack the senses near-relentlessly; the latter track in particular is a real rollercoaster, sounding formless and mad at first but eventually coagulating into a pummeling, noisy slab of irresistible bass-heavy rock. It looks you dead in the eye and challenges you - dares you - to keep up with it.

I couldn't find the album version online, so here's a live clip instead.

The music that Savages make is seriously, almost scarily compelling stuff, which I suppose is why they can get away with ordering us around in the titles they use. Whether Jehnny Beth is telling you to Shut Up, Surrender, or simply Adore Life, you'd better believe that you're going to do it. 

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