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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Mike's Picks #3

Savages - Adore Life
The ten songs on Savages' sophomore album Adore Life tackle the concept of love and all of it's soaring highs, crushing lows, and everything in between.  Love is not represented by a peace sign or a smiling face.  Love, as shown on the album cover, is a clenched fist; tense, aggressive and ready to strike at a moments notice.  On the opener, the scorching "The Answer," they come out swinging.  "If you don't love me/Don't love anybody" sings Jehnny Beth, over an avalanche of sound.  It sets the mood perfectly for what is to come.  "Love is the answer," according to Beth.  Later, on "T.I.W.Y.G." she sings "This is what you get when you mess with love" over squealing feedback and dance drums.  This is not your typical boy meets girl swooning love album.  Love here is equal parts filthy, lustful, and cynical, yet also powerful, passionate, and sensual.

All the aspects that made their debut, 2013's Silence Yourself, such an intriguing listen are still in tact.  They effortlessly combine the swagger of early Siouxsie and the Banshees and PJ Harvey, the angular, stabbing rhythms of Wire and Gang of Four, and the washed out, distorted guitars of Sonic Youth and Swans.  Despite having a style that takes plenty from the past, it all feels fresh.  It's the sound of a young band truly getting a foothold on their style, working out the kinks on a grand stage.

On the album's centerpiece, the brooding and gorgeous "Adore," Beth begs the question, "Is is human to adore life?"  The song ends with the repetition of "I adore life/Do you adore life?"  Despite all of love and life's trappings, the ups and downs, she sides with love, all the while questioning this decision and demanding an answer from the listener.

This is an album full of contradictions.  Equal parts disco and punk, masculine aggression and feminine sophistication, LOVE tattooed on the left hand and HATE on the right.  Savages have found comfort in the space between.  I highly suggest you give this album a shot.  Who knows, you may fall in love with it.

Key lyric:
If only I didn't care so much
For the feel of your cold, cold touch
In every bed I leave behind
Is it human to adore life?
I understand the urgency of life
In the distance there is truth which cuts like a knife
Maybe I will die maybe tomorrow so I need to say
I adore life
Do you adore life?

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