“Savage” is not an appropriate enough term to describe Savages’ new album. How can one put a single term on an album as brooding as this? Savages’ new record, Adore Life is a post-punk rage against love, filled to the brim with attacks on one of the finest human emotions. Every note is another punch to the face and another question to be asked about the heart. The band that brought the rebellious anthem “Strife” and the indie punk staple “Husbands” is now back with an industrial, hard hitting post-punk album that can’t be forgotten easily.
The album is headed with the gothic, Lightning Bolt-esque “The Answer” that immediately establishes that this record does not fool around. With guitars so distorted they merge the line between noisy guitars and a thick synth, almost a thrash rock song with how hard hitting it is. This extreme heaviness is found at other moments on the album, including the rocker that describes confusion, “Surrender” and the closing track that traps its listener in an industrial black hole, “Mechanics”. That’s not to say that the album has it’s moments of regression. The central track, “Adore”, is a slower paced ballad focused around a reverberating guitar and a light beat that ends abruptly before building up into a massive wall of noise. Vocalist Jehnny Beth has an urgency and demand in her voice throughout the album, especially in “The Answer” and “I Need Something New”. One of the most spine-tingling moments on the entire record is her tortured scream in the second half of “Slowing Down The World”. Songs such as “The Answer” and “Mechanics” have epic riffs delivered by Gemma Thompson, with equally as driven bass lines by Ayse Assan featured in “When In Love” and “Slowing Down The World”. Fay Milton delivers groovy and epic percussion throughout the album, especially on “The Answer” and “Evil”. This album does not have a single dull moment - every song shines with some form of excellence in one area or the other. The album ends on a very minimalist track, though for what it has, it makes due with. It’s still the most abyssal track on the album, dragging you into the deepest depths of space (or the supermassive black hole of your broken heart) and crushing you with industrial intensity.
“Adore”, had the album been more of a concept album that told a story, could’ve been the turning point of the album. Savages’ new record is a love story, almost a concept album, in a sense. But rather than being a tale of the enjoyment of love, it is, rather, quite the opposite: Adore Life is a tale told of the aftermath of love, in the most brutal form possible. This is most evidenced in hard hitter “T.I.W.Y.G.”, which laughs in the face of the cruel reality of love: “We gave you life to see if you'd disobey / Not interested in what we have to say,” or in “The Answer” in which Beth cries “If you don't love me / You don't love anybody / Ain't you glad it's you?” As fantastic of an arrangement this album is sonically, you’ll need two listens to fully appreciate it: once focussing in on the incredibly vast instrumentals, and another to fully take in the lyrics and interpret them.
Savages live up to their name with Adore Life, absolutely ravaging the principles of love. There’s no traces of positivity here, every word and note played with a vengeance. This all female-fronted post-punk revival group from London won’t be taking anyone’s shit - they’re coming with power and conviction to make their message known. Adore Life is an ode to happiness and not what makes you happy. And with that, in the most brutal way possible.