'Adore Life' Refines Savages' Quiet Moments And Thunderous Peaks

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Savages, left to right: AysŸe Hassan, Fay Milton, Gemma Thompson, Jehnny Beth. (Courtesy of the artist)
Savages, left to right: AysŸe Hassan, Fay Milton, Gemma Thompson, Jehnny Beth. (Courtesy of the artist)

How long has it been since a snarling singer and a supercharged electric guitar grabbed you by the throat and wouldn't let go?

The four women of Savages first appeared in 2013 with a noisy debut called Silence Yourself and a sound that lived up to the London band's name — raw, confrontational, intense. The just-released Adore Life represents a huge leap forward.

On this album, the palette has broadened. Singer Jehnny Beth says it happened after some touring: Savages began to write songs that unfolded like short stories, with sudden changes in tone and texture. To develop this new material, Savages did a smart thing by opting to set up a series of low-key "workshop" performances in clubs. Beth says these helped the band refine both its quiet moments and its thundering peaks.

Savages identifies as a post-punk band, and sure enough, the cornerstone of the sound is abrasive guitar. That can sometimes mask the sophistication in the writing. As the band's lyricist, Jehnny Beth explores the perils of love and commitment in terse, unsentimental language — in "Slowing Down The World," she sounds like she knows every step on the tightrope from infatuation to heartbreak.

Sometimes in rock, raw energy is everything. Savages' members have had that from the start. With Adore Life, the group expands and magnifies that intense, visceral roar. Listen closely through the ear-shredding distortion, and you'll hear the sound of a band that got good in a hurry.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright NPR. View this article on npr.org.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

How long has it been since a snarling woman and a supercharged electric guitar grabbed you and wouldn't let go?

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "T.I.W.Y.G.")

SAVAGES: (Singing) This is what you get when you mess with love. This is what you get when you mess with love.

CORNISH: The four women of Savages first appeared two years ago with a noisy debut called "Silence Yourself." Critic Tom Moon says the U.K. band's second album that just released "Adore Life" represents a huge leap forward.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SILENCE YOURSELF")

SAVAGES: (Singing) I'll go insane.

TOM MOON, BYLINE: On their first album, Savages went for a sound worthy of the band's name - raw, confrontational, intense. On this album, the palette has broadened. Singer Jehnny Beth says it happened after some touring. Savages began to write songs that unfold like short stories with sudden changes in tone and texture.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE ANSWER")

SAVAGES: (Singing) If you don't love me, you don't love anybody. If you don't love me, don't love anybody. Ain't you glad it's you? Ain't you glad it's you? Ain't you glad it's you?

MOON: To develop this new material, Savages did a smart thing. It set up a series of low-key workshop performances in clubs. Jehnny Beth says these helped the band refine the quiet moments and the thundering peaks.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ADORE LIFE")

SAVAGES: (Singing) I adore life. Do you adore life? I adore life. Do you adore life? I adore life. Do you adore life? I adore life. Do you adore life? I adore life. Do you adore life?

MOON: Savages identifies as a post-punk band. And sure enough, the cornerstone of the sound is abrasive guitar. That can sometimes mask the sophistication in the writing. Lyricist Jehnny Beth explores the perils of love and commitment in terse, unsentimental language.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SLOWING DOWN THE WORLD")

SAVAGES: (Singing) I offer you someone to ship the word you like, arm you with doctor's eyes. Your lights will flame with fire. Is it for you I beg? Is it for you I pray? Is it for you I lay down anywhere? Something to be said about slowing down the world.

MOON: Sometimes in rock, raw energy is everything. Savages had that from the start. And with this album, the band expanded and magnified that intense visceral roar. Listen closely through the ear-shredding distortion. This is the sound of a band that got good in a hurry.

(SOUNDBITE OF SAVAGES SONG, "SLOWING DOWN THE WORLD")

CORNISH: Tom Moon reviewed the second album by Savages, "Adore Life."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SLOWING DOWN THE WORLD")

SAVAGES: (Singing) Is it for you I hide? Is it for you I leave? Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.