in Review

Savages – Silence Yourself

Getting excited about a debut album is a phenomenon that is completely alien to me.  The order of things seems to usually be that a band releases an album or two, you like what they’re doing, so you get all amped up over the idea of what their next album will be.  But thanks to the almighty power of the internet, I’ve been obsessing over this London all-female four piece for about the last month.  I suppose from the moment I heard the kitchen-sink brutality of their first single “Husbands”, as well as skimming through endless YouTube videos that did a decent job of capturing the band’s live intensity, I was hooked.  This of course has led me to be reminded of the phrase “hype is double-edged sword”, since I could’ve easily been setting myself up for disappointment.  But fortunately, Silence Yourself is one of the most commanding debut albums I’ve heard in quite some time.

I’m sure this is something I’ve complained about before, but I really do miss the “rock band” dynamic in modern music.  And by that, I mean that it seems like we’re living in an age when it’s so easy for these one-man solo projects to be recorded all in the comfort of one’s bedroom, and thus losing that personal element of collaboration.  Savages however are a band in which you see each member completely feeding off of each other’s energy, and creating something that is so much more powerful than the some of its parts.  But that’s not to say that these parts aren’t remarkable in and of themselves, as the muscularity of the drums and bass-playing is downright ferocious, and gives the guitar-playing the freedom to indulge in all kinds of flights of noise-filled fancy.  All of which is complemented nicely by the simplicity of Jehnny Beth’s lyrics, which do much to drive home the almost primal nature of this band.

I suppose there are plenty of things that you could knock about Savages, such as the fact that they’re just pulling from a bunch of well-worn post-punk influences (Joy Division, Public Image Ltd., Siouxsie, blah blah blah).  But honestly I’ve never cared too much about those bands, because they never really transformed those dark and brooding sounds into something quite as exacting and intense (I seem to be using that word a lot) as Silence Yourself.  You could also rag on Savages for taking themselves a bit too seriously, considering the side of this album’s cover features the band’s somewhat overwrought personal manifesto, which decries the constant distractions of modern life.  But that seems irrelevant, since this is a band that is able to own up to their goal of demanding your attention in the face of all these distractions.  It’s not music that merely aims to be played in the background of your casual internet browsing.  It’s there front and center, and I just find that really refreshing.

Favorite Tracks: “Shut Up”, “She Will”, “Husbands”