Savages’ sophomore album Adore Life reviewed

adore lifeSAVAGES; Post-Punk, London based, and whose debut album is a modern masterpiece. There, I said it, sue me. Silence Yourself was powerful, full of energy, beautifully produced, with poetic lyrics and even better music. Adore Life then is one of the more anticipated albums of 2016, or certainly was for me. Indeed, this album seems to have generally received pretty good reviews, but this review will see this album from the eyes of a diehard fan of the debut. So here’s a spoiler: Adore Life is not as good as its predecessor.

That’s not to say that Adore Life is a bad album per say, but it can be very flat. Savages have switched up their style somewhat, there are some new musical incorporated too, but these things aren’t what let this album down. It’s simply because the songs aren’t to the same calibre as Silence Yourself. Take opener ‘The Answer’ which, on paper, should be great, but the repetition of the same guitar sequence grows very stale over the three and a half minute run time.

On the other end of the spectrum, some of the slower numbers are also pretty dry. ‘Slowing Down the World’ is just anti-climactic. The drum and bass beats are good, but there’s something so lacklustre about it, especially following the enjoyable ‘Adore’. Closer ‘Mechanics’ has an interesting texture, but ends the album with more a whimper than a bang. Then there are more classic Savages tracks, and again, they should be great but… ‘I Need Something New’ and ‘When In Love’ are just kind of forgettable.

But it’s not all bad news. The first half of the album has some bangers in ‘Evil’ and ‘Sad Person’. The former is proper back to basics Savages, with some exquisite drum and bass beats, with a snarling guitar line to complete it. The latter has a juicy bass line for a backbone and has some vocals from Jenny Beth that would sound so out of place if anyone else sang them. It’s pretty excellent. Then we have ‘Adore’. As previously mentioned, this is a great track, with Savages slower pace actually paying off to give a very experimental feel. It ends on a growing climax which sounds somewhat like Radiohead. It would be great to see more of this experimental side.

In the latter half of the album we have ‘Surrender’ which, while the vocal melody occasionally feels a little off, is a solid track which incorporates aspects that’d we’d expect from Savages, but with an experimental edge. This especially comes across in the bass line, which is so distorted it sounds like a synthesiser. Then there’s ‘T.I.W.Y.G.’, a track I originally didn’t take too, but it really comes into its own this album with its enjoyable gothic vibe and surprising take on love in the lyrics.

Adore Life isn’t a travesty, but it’s a far cry from the perfection that is Silence Yourself. It’s also confusing; there are points where it feels like Savages have tried to advance their sound, and other points where they seem to re-hash their old formula. Adore Life doesn’t have what their debut did, which is consistency. There are good tracks on this record, but at the same time there are some duds, which is a massive shame. It seems like certain parts of the album that seem flatter on record will take shape in live shows, but for now, Adore Life leaves a feeling of… not anger, but disappointment.

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