Savages Adore Life Matador
Savages’ debut LP Silence Yourself presented a world of sexual, visceral, trend-swerving freedom.
The band, three members from London and one from France, emerged with an electrifying stage presence and an all-black aesthetic that added a compelling no-bullshit uniform to their post-punk thunderclap. All this, plus a penchant for writing manifestos meant this wasn’t just a band, this was a group of future cult leaders; and if you’re going to follow a new world order, it may as well be serious-minded and straight-talking Jehnny-Beth’s.
Adore Life is another statement from the edge. Adore, the album centrepiece that’s been giving live audiences goosebumps since the beginning of last year, treads Savages’ ambitious manifesto into new territory. It starts with a fittingly savage bout of self-reflection, as the music creeps along quietly in the shadows. “Maybe I will die maybe tomorrow so I need to say: I adore life,” Beth then intones in the grandiose, almost schmaltzy chorus. “Do you adore life?” is the question Savages have been recently asking themselves, and Beth’s answer, posed in an age when caring is anything but cool, delivers an unexpected punch for any jaded millennial. Savages have always been defiant, but this might be the ultimate statement of contempt for a capitalist society intent on destroying your sense of self-worth. Even the release date is confrontational – January is meant to be a month of self-disgust, purging and forced change, but tracks like Evil reinforce a message of empowerment: “Don’t try to change, don’t try to change,” yelps Jehnny-Beth. “They will hurt you, they will break you down”.
Adore Life represents a more considered, nuanced Savages, and though some of the swaggering, aggressive walls of sound that characterised their first effort might have lost some of their edge as a result, their message remains the same: don’t let the fuckers get you down.