Album review: Savages – Adore Life

Savages - Adore Life

Savages - Adore Life - Credit: Archant

The return of these gutsy all-female rockers sets sonic brutality with bruising self-analysis, says Stephen Moore.

Following frothing mouths and stormy, sweaty moshpits in the wake of Savages’ austere and severe 2012 debut, Adore Life suggests the band might just have found the light.

Well... love might now be on the lyrical agenda, but opening gambit The Answer is certainly no frolic in the meadows.

Its relentless grinding guitar, thundering, tumbling drums and crashing cymbals are punctured only by singer Jehnny Beth’s powerful wail that “love is the answer” if only she can find it, her heart consumed instead by jealousy.

It’s a pounding, invigorating and excoriating introduction to a cocktail of post-punk, PJ Harvey and the messiness of 21st-century love and lust.

And if nothing else quite matches it, the album’s cathartic sonic violence remains impressive.

The headbanging turbo-rock of T.I.W.Y.G. – built around the warning: “This is what you get when you mess with love” – will send moshpits into a frenzy, and the power of I Need Something New’s drum-and-bass crescendo gives Beth’s frustration near-physical form.

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It’s more hit-and-miss when they tone it down – the almost theatrical swoon of Adore, throwing Beth’s rich vocal into focus as she faces her own mortality, is best.

Moody, malevolent, messed-up and moving.

Rating: 3/5 stars