Savages - Adore Life (B-)

The moody angst of rock can be one of the more freeing sounds in music. It’s that chaotic power that lets you unload, lets you feel the anger, the stress, the sadness that is consuming you. Everyone needs an outlet like that, bottling up emotions that strong can only lead to pain. While the depth of my sorrow is limited, the daily frustrations and misgivings of life can add up. When they do, I have Savages. It all starts with lead vocalist Jehnny Beth (actual name Camille Berthomier) and the intensity with which she delivers. While post-punk has rarely been my scene, there is something addictive about this group of girls that draws me in. They have this dark energy that I haven’t heard in music in quite some time. Both beautiful and haunting, it triggered emotions I hadn’t felt in awhile, feelings I thought had passed. Other artists, like Banks, offer this feeling on a different platform, a more direct, more accessible one. The only issue with that is that sometimes the glossiness of the sound or the sensual nature it’s presented in takes away from the message. That’s what works so well for Savages, the rawness that Adore Life hits you with is where its weight comes from. The purposeful lack of sharpness from guitarist Gemma Thompson on tracks like “When In Love” adds depth to the sound, a grimy imperfection to enhance the mood. The primal energy they throw at you is stronger here than on their 2013 debut, Silence Yourself, but very much in the same vein. 

Now, there is an upside and downside to the record's excellence from a listening standpoint. The upside is that it offers a perfect escape and outlet when the mood calls for it, the downside is that, for me, the mood is a rarity. In fact, it made this review even harder because I had trouble connecting to it on a deeper level at first, unfortunately you can’t force emotion. While I understand that the themes present are universal it’s the delivery that makes it so effective. Honestly, and this is a good thing, I’m reminded here of early Queens of the Stone Age, lyrically effecting, musically unpolished, mostly by choice I’m sure. While calmer tracks like “Adore” and the powerful closer “Mechanics” will probably get the most play from me, I’ll definitely be revisiting this at a later date when life decides to throw me to the wolves (and it will). One last thing, I have to compliment the structure of the album, it's perfect. The first three tracks all come at you forcefully only to come to a complete stop as “Adore” takes you over in a very different way. From there they slowly work their way up, but in a way that's separate from the initial feel, a variation of their own sound, brilliant stuff. “Surrender” has a quickened tempo but the vocals don’t match it, making for a perfect transition into the spectacular and badass “T.I.W.Y.G.”, which leads into the final track, the ghostly “Mechanics”. Just because this isn’t meant for my everyday doesn’t mean it isn’t spectacular. This album will affect you, you just have to be willing to let it.