Savages – Silence Yourself (album) (Pop Noire Records / Matador Records)
For the past 9 or so months we, along with every other blog and music publication on the planet, have been raving about the London, all girl, post-punk quartet, Savages (read our review of debut single ‘Husbands / Flying To Berlin‘, the ‘I Am Here’ live EP, and album singles, “She Will” and “Shut Up”).
‘Silence Yourself’ is the band’s debut album and it’s deservedly one of the most anticipated albums for the year. While it seems inevitable that we have to make the obligatory “Siouxsie and The Banshees circa ‘The Scream’ meets Joy Division“ comparison, Savages certainly show enough individual character than to be branded as imitators. Moving on…
It’s no mean feat but the 11-track album captures the energy and spirit of the band’s infamous live shows; the bass is driving and gritty, the drums are feverent and noisy, the guitars grate like razors and the vocals are seething. It’s all delivered with such an visceral urgency and intensity that’s impossible to resist (check out “No Face”, “She Will”, “Hit Me”, and “Husbands”). Live favourites like “City’s Full” lose nothing recorded and you get the distinct feeling that recording the songs in a studio was like trying to tame a wild beast.
With its danceable drum rhythm and raw energy opening track “Shut Up” will have your body moving willingly or not. The tension increases with every passing second and when its quintessential post-punk guitar melody arrives during the pre-chorus, “Shut Up” is an undeniable post-punk hit.
Throughout the record there is a Joy Division-like claustrophobia and urgency. Even when the pace is reduced during the moody “Waiting For A Sign” and closing track “Marshal Dear”, the feeling of discomfort is still ever-present. In several ways ‘Silence Yourself’ exhibits traits and an intensity not too dissimilar to the brilliant Cold Pumas ‘Persistent Malaise’ album from last year (a Sound Advice Top 5 favourite – read our review).
“She Will” is an immediate stand out; its verses are dark and brooding, bolstered together and driven by a melodic bass line backed by a tasty dance-punk beat. The verses quickly build in tension leading to a visceral, anti-chorus of sorts made up of squealing guitars, cymbal-chokes and Jehnny Beth shouting “she will” over and over.
“Strife” showcases an interesting character not heard elsewhere on the record; a riff-heavy number with the slightest hint of 70’s glam ala T.Rex. Meanwhile Savages debut single, “Husbands“, has also been re-recorded and included on the album and what a stonker it is. If ever there was a post-punk anthem this millennium, “Husbands” is surely it.
While the song craft and hooks are absolutely top-notch with each song a winner, the manner in which they’re delivered and their arrangements make for a most interesting and unpredictable listen (check out the brilliant “No Face” for example). The choruses, though catchy, aren’t necessarily melodic per se and are often just repeated words as mentioned above.
An impeccable debut and one that totally lives up to expectation. ‘Silence Yourself’ is one of the most exhilarating and visceral records we’ve heard in recent memory and after only a handful of listens is destined to be a strong contender for album of the year.
‘Silence Yourself’ will be released on 6 May, 2013.
Watch the video for “Shut Up” below: