Review: Savages – Silence Yourself

The amount of hype generated by London’s Savages might seem confusing for some. Their monochrome image and post-punk sound have been tried by so many acts before. However, they carry themselves with a refreshing aloofness, their live shows attract rave reviews and their songs, though studied, suggest that this is an all-female British band who can translate their appeal on to foreign shores too.

Savages Album Cover

‘Shut Up’ is an arresting opener in more ways than one. Jehnny Beth’s clipped vocals evoke a petulant schoolgirl or, to give a musical comparison, early Siouxsie Sioux. There’s a satisfying grittiness to the bass/guitar interplay from Ayse Hassan and Gemma Thompson which elevates the songs above post-punk pastiche level and Fay Milton’s tribal drumming dominates tracks like the punishing ‘I Am Here’.

The stark ‘Strife’, with its spindly guitar lines, huge rhythmic pulses and Bauhaus-esque (or even Joy Division-esque) atmosphere provides a stunning moment, matched by the “straight for the jugular” approach for single ‘She Will’. Furthermore, on ‘Waiting For A Sign’, Beth begins to grow her own voice and she is the definite focal point for this dramatic centrepiece, as she is for the relatively refined ‘Marshall Dear’. Other tracks, such as the visceral and shouty ‘No Face’ and ‘Hit Me’, possibly work better in the live environment but they’ve already done enough to ensnare the curious by that point.

This is a supremely confident debut and one whose musical manifesto is laid out clearly for all to enjoy. In short, if you like authentic post-punk music, you will most probably like ‘Silence Yourself’. Then again, there is a sense that with music as austere as this, there’s a risk that it’s not an album to keep returning to on a frequent basis. I feel that they can and will do better on their next album but as an opening statement, it certainly convinces.

Web Sites:
Savages Official Site
Savages perform ‘She Will’ (Live on KEXP)

Further Listening:
Bauhaus, Siouxsie And The Banshees, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs

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