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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mark’s Pick of the Week: Silence Yourself by Savages

            No…seriously this can’t be this good.  Some of the comparisons I’m hearing about this band include the likes of Queens of the Stone Age, Bauhus, Wired, The Raincoats, Public Image Ltd, Gang of Four, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Magazine, and Joy Division.  Hell, Geoff Barrow of Portishead called them “one of those classic bands that you just love.”  This was before their debut album even came out.  I’m pretty optimistic, but even still.  I think the critics are getting my hopes up to high.
            The about paragrapgh was written before I listened to this album.  I had heard “Shut Up” and “Husband” before the album came out and I was excited about this release.  However, two good singles doesn’t mean a phenomenal album, and it certainly doesn’t mean any of the great things every preview I’ve read so far had said about them.  Luckily for me this was not a time where my imagination has set the bar way to high…in fact my imagination pretty much low-balled these guys.
This album rocks.  I know that’s a cliché, but there is no other word to describe it.  It rocks…no I mean it R.O.C.K.S. It is energy made into sound that hit you like it can and will physically harm you.  Savages is an all female 4 piece from London that is making some of the most serious and artistic post-punk I have heard in a long while.  They certainly bare some similarities to the bands mentioned above, but they are something that is greater then the sum of these parts, and at the same time something totally different. 
I have heard of a lot of bands that say they want to remain genreless or something like that.  Normally I am against this because you can certainly remain artistically free, and still be able to give people an idea of what your music sounds like.  It’s less of a cage that you’re forcing yourself to conform to, and more of a map to give people who might listen an idea of what to expect.  You shouldn’t have to stress that you’re different (I have found that many bands who are all about that tend to be pretty much stale copies of other bands).  If you’re totally different it’s something everyone else should/will be saying.  Some bands are awesome without needing to be different and vice versa.  It takes serious talent, vision, and energy to be both.  Savages has all three of these, and that is certainly something that comes across in this release.
The music on this record is so tight I think because four musicians who know each other, and love the music are playing it.  The vocals are poetry.  It’s poetry, not just in what’s being said, but how it is said.  Jehnny Beth just commands your attention.  They also know the importance of hooks.  Most of these tracks, especially on the A side of the album, can get you moving no problem.  They are just fun songs to listen to.  They may have intricate musical pieces and serious themes, but above all they are just really cool rock songs.
The bass in this album is possibly the most striking feature on this album.  It’s certainly not extremely flashy like something you might hear from Primus or Red Hot Chili Peppers, but it’s undeniable there’s something powerful about it.  In between vocals you can hear, full force, the magic the bass is creating just below the surface.
“Shut Up” is, in my humble opinion, the best way they could have chosen to start this album.  It is exactly what you expect before you listen, and it sets the tone for what is to come: awesomeness.  There are certainly plenty of tracks on this album like the opener, but some like “Strife” are content to smolder as opposed to explode.  Even if these seem more reserved they carry just as much energy as every other track, which seems to be the unifying feature of every one of these songs.
“Waiting For A Sign” and “Dead Nature,” which are at about the half waypoint, are like the band is taking a breather.  The songs are a bit less imposing, but they are still great in their own way.  I don’t know if it’s for their sake or ours, but by no means are they through.  They come right back with “She Will” a song that right from the start I knew was about to get a bit crazy, and by the end had properly eased me back into the “million miles per hour” that is the rest of the album.
            The song “I Am Here” a declaration of self-identity or however you want to phrase it is so appropriate for this album because these guys are here.  This album, it’s good (if I didn’t make it clear before.)  As long as there are people there will be this album.  It’s immortality, and these guys are playing music like they are aware that people in the distant future will hear it.  It doesn’t matter the language these future humans speak because energy is a universal language. 
            By far my biggest complaint is that this album is only about 40 minutes long…

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