In general terms, the post-punk revival has overstayed its welcome – seriously, stop ripping off Ian Curtis and Joy Division already. But that judgement call does not fall on Savages. It’s fair to say that despite the band’s superficial association with this movement, the all-female quartet really are a class above and unlike their peers, actually have something to say.
On this sophomore effort, Savages make every effort to connect emotionally through their uncompromisingly lean material. Vocalist Jehnny Beth is front and centre once again and on this record, impossible to resist.
And the emotion is sadness brought about by love itself. From the single “Adore” – “If only I didn’t want the world/I wouldn’t make you feel so sad/I’m sure my shame would be gone/Is it human to adore life?” And in “Sad Person” – I am, I am/A sad, sad person/Always been/A sad, sad person”.
Despair rears its ugly head as well in the opening “The Answer” – “Wish me luck/This was a hard year/And I can’t see/No brighter future”.
Perhaps, Beth is channeling Ian Curtis a bit too much? Or is she simply providing us with the necessary caution regarding love and relationships. I believe the latter is true – “This is what you get when you mess with love” (T.I.W.Y.G.)
Savages tap into the primal energy that rock ’n’ roll is able to deliver. But it’s not merely a pathetic posture but an honest position that comes from strength in anger. Power!