Savages – Silence Yourself
Buy: Silence Yourself
Who are Savages?
They’re a new all-girl London post-punk four-piece and the latest ‘big new hope’ of guitar music in 2013. They are: Jenny Beth (vocals), Gemma Thompson (guitar), Ayse Hassan (bass) and Fay Milton (drums)
What do I need to know about Silence Yourself?
It’s Savages debut album, obviously, and it comes with a fully formed and serious sounding manifesto – which, to summarize, tells us all off for being too easily distracted and implores us to focus on the real things in life that actually matter.
What’s the verdict?
Don’t let the political manifesto and serious posturing fool you, Silence Yourself is not an overly heavy and inaccessible album in the same vein as the Manics’ The Holy Bible.
Savages base their sound very much on the original post punk bands – so think Joy Division rather than Interpol for reference points – which means the bass is always high in the mix and often takes the lead. There’s also plenty of crowd-pleasing riffage and melodies, as well as great songwriting, at times both poetic and brutal, that makes Silence Yourself an engaging, thought provoking but above all enjoyable debut album.
Highlights include the blistering opening track ‘Shut Up’, which has Beth introducing her unique vocal delivery and the bands general bleak outlook over a searing riff: “The world’s a dead sorry hole / And I’m cold”. On ‘City’s Full’ Savages address love in the modern world in brutally frank and honest terms over tribals drums and an angular bass-led riff: “I love the stretch-marks on your thighs / I love the wrinkles around your eyes”. ‘No Face’ is another immediate and gut-punching punk song based around Savages manifesto message of a lack of personality in a uniformed world. ‘Hit Me’, a song dedicated to adult movie actress Bella Donna, is a quick-fire primal thrash about S&M, while ‘Husbands’ is a more composed and measured track about alienation and the rejection of our safe and contrived lives – using husbands as the metaphor for conventional, mapped out existences.
As well as the more immediate post-punk tracks, Silence Yourself also has some interesting experimental moments. ‘Dead Nature’ is just two minutes of atmospheric and primal noise, ‘Waiting For A Sign’ suggests a slight prog-rock leaning and the brilliant album closer ‘Marshal Dear’ even makes room for a bit of piano!
It’s always tempting, and usually worthwhile, to hold new bands up against their influences. In Savages case, there’s obvious comparisons to make with Joy Division, Siouxsie Siouz, Manics, The Horrors and Yeah Yeah Yeahs – but Silence Yourself should not be viewed as an album in thrall of these influences. It’s a guttural, primal and powerful album with a strong sense of purpose and spirit – in short, it’s the type of debut album that doesn’t come around very often!