You know the story; Savages begin to garner lots of rave reviews during 2012, to the point this writer immediately becomes cynical, purposefully stands back from the hype and hoola. Until now. I have relented and picked up a copy of the London goth-tinged post-punk band’s debut album, Silence Yourself. I am less interested in studied opinion, any politics, even the lyrics for that matter. Sometimes there is a danger of making the music, or the band, more important than what is actually there.
Obviously it is still a matter for debate whether Silence Yourself is so good as to justify the column inches and focus at the expense of much other music out there, but this is not to say that the record is an underwhelming piece either. Ultimately it is a loud, intense album. It is a purposefully ‘classic-style’ rock offering, right down to the sleeve design. In some ways one could argue it’s a dateless record, not belonging to a specific, obvious place and time. (Despite some trying to argue its case as a “modern record”. I am not entirely convinced about that one, or even sure what it means).
Silence Yourself is a good album. In fact, one could even compare it to the equally hyped Strokes’ debut of 2001, Is This It. They don’t sound much in common, but both retain a certain retro mood and quality, and a consistent set of songs that in turn meet the requirement of those who remember this sort of thing first time round, as well as younger fans to whom it is perhaps something new. To be basic about it, the record doesn’t over its course drag or drift much, overstay its welcome, or overreach itself.
It is a record that sticks to the rule book: ‘I Am Here”s stop-starts, the drums and guitar in perfect, tight control of the other; the creeping, lurking effects and the Siouxsie Sioux like vocals, are sort of typical of the record. Tracks like ‘Waiting For A Sign’ and ‘Marshal Dealer’ are less full on abrasive, here the windows are opened a notch to allow room to breath, alongside contemplation; and then there is ‘No Face’ and ‘She Will’– both solid, powerhouse-and-quickfire slices of post-punk.
What Savages do next should be interesting. Second album syndrome is what brings down many a band, particularly over the last decade. That fresh burst of energy, coupled with sparkle and curious wit, is something that can be hard to produce a second time. Instead what we normally end up getting is the same album only with an inferior, more produced bunch of songs. Anyway, Silence Yourself, how should we decimaly rate it? 7.5 / 10 seems about right.
At least it’s not another ‘chillwave’ record.