Album: Silence Yourself
Record Label: Matador
Urgent, sexy and dark, "Silence Yourself" may well be one of Post- Punk's most vital releases this year
Not for a long time has there been an occurrence in the female name quite like that of Savages. A band whose name many will be accustomed to reading across the blogosphere and in international musiczines surrounded by mouth- watered hyperbole, they are one of the few groups to emerge from the last 18 months truly deserving. Much more importantly than the Hype machine though, the London based four piece stand to serve a greater if slightly more righteous purpose, even if they don't spell it out. There's no necessity to claim "Silence Yourself" a "Feminist" piece of work, nor to suggest that Savages are a primarily "Feminist" entity. But the virtues of womanhood ooze in sassy fashion from the record, so much so that it will be remarkable if the majority of songs here don't have you pumping your fist and yelling "WOMAN POWER!"
Such verbal vitriol may be ammunition for abnormally large expectations however, so let's be out with it; "Silence Yourself" is not a perfect album. Nor can it legitimately be called a masterpiece. But for a debut album to entail this much weight, passion and talent, especially in the ever derivative worlds of Indie and (increasingly) Post- Punk, is too rare a thing for it not to be treasured. "Shut Up" opens up with a sociologically righteous monologue from frontwoman Jenny Beth (whose performance throughout the album is astonishing). "If the world would shut up, just for a while, we might hear the distant rhythm of an angry young tune." It's a mantra that circles around the listener's head insatiably throughout the proceedings, and in a way is the records' driving motivational force realized in words.
"City's Full" is swaggering Punk 'n' Roll. Scrawling guitar noise buzzes over the gritty, brooding bass line before erupting into assured steel in the chorus. The pounding crawl and dirty, sludge- laden riff on "Strife" provides an ideal platform for the sexy, Bad Girl image Beth portrays. "They have no idea what we do at night", and then rather more humorously, "I come up and do things with you, I will never tell my mum."
"She Will" is a splendidly clear cut but raucous angular disco recounting of a "hard loving slut". "She will talk like a friend... She will forget her name...". "No Face" is a dirty, fuzzy out- and- out punk outburst, with a mighty hook on the chorus abiding by the premise of "I can't wait until the day you cry, 'cause you have no face". It turns into a sultry, doo- wop influenced swoon as Beth sings "Don't worry about breaking my heart," before rebuilding itself back up into it's full- throttle intensity.
There are but two dips in the proceedings. The fragile "Waiting For a Sign" brings an influence of Joy Division's more reflective moments to the fore, but its snails' pace is lacklustre, and the chilling spectre of "Dead Nature" is more filler than it is emotive. Otherwise, "Silence Yourself" is a fantastically brooding affair that drips with ever- evolving vitality. It's perhaps Post- Punk's most important release thus far in 2013.
Key Tracks: She Will, Strife, No Face
For Fans Of: British Sea Power, Dead Kennedys, Joy Division