Review: Savages – Silence Yourself
Published on May 2nd, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
There’s been an exceptional ‘buzz’ of anticipation for Savages’ debut album Silence Yourself, and not without good reason: their sound comes rumbling and shredding out of nowhere, cacophonous yet supremely tight, minimalist yet exploding all over the place, more often than not turbocharged and delivered with such nihilistic ferocity as to conceal Jehnny Beth’s sympathetically human lyrics. This all makes for a breathtaking live proposition, as Rocksucker can attest to having witnessed their performance at last year’s Leeds festival.
If there’s one problem, it’s that their admittedly distinct noise begins to wear a little bit thin as the album reaches its conclusion, which incidentally comes in the form of something (“Marshal Dear”) that it’s tempting to describe as “Shirley Bassey gone post-rock”. It’s magnificent, crashing itself into rapture off the back of dolorous piano and heavily reverbed violin and/or guitar…and then back into understated minor key territory. If anything hints at much more to come from Savages, it’s “Marshal Dear”.
Wielding a supreme, slashing menace that we didn’t give it enough credit for on first listen, single “Shut Up” is a sort of conglomeration of Siousxie and the Banshees, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Pixies that in the main sets the tone for the album. Not that it’s formulaic: “I Am Here”, for example, pounds itself into a right old frenzy and lets fly with ripping waves of distortion, while “Strife” reins in the full-throttle approach in favour of a formidable, Smashing Pumpkins-esque stomp.
On “Waiting For a Sign”, Savages manage to align this more considered pacing with their lust for jarring noise. After the shock use of minor chords – yes, actual minor chords, resolving themselves in splendorous major keys – it lets rip with screeching, skyscraping distortion that dominates and nigh on overpowers the mix, rhythm section patting gently yet atmospherically along underneath all the while.
The repeated taunts of “You have no face” on, er, “No Face” remind of Pixies’ “Broken Face”, albeit without Black Francis’s deranged yelps. We don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing; it’s just a thing, really. By the time of the arrival of “Husbands”, a solid enough track in its own right, a certain amount of ‘Groundhog Day’ does seem to have snuck into the equation. Silence Yourself is maybe three quarters a great debut album, so it’s definitely worth checking out unless you’re some kind of Mumford and Sons fan or something.
Rocksucker says: Three and a Half Quails out of Five!
Silence Yourself will be released on Monday through Matador.
For more information, please visit the official Savages website.