The long-awaited album from Savages is a purposeful, intense and at times epic affair.
Having only formed in 2011, their debut singles ‘Flying To Berlin’ and ‘Husbands’ saw Savages widely hailed in the British press, making the much-hyped Silence Yourself one of the most eagerly anticipated releases of 2013.
Somewhat disparagingly described by Lily Allen as “Ian Curt… ish”, the London quartet are a difficult act to categorize.
While certainly drawing on the moody post-punk of bands like Joy Division, they’re equally influenced by anthemic 70s rock and punk, and, at their best, are reminiscent of ferocious early Nick Cave projects The Boys Next Door and The Birthday Party.
With their often frosty public persona, the stern black and white album cover, and the spoken word album intro ripped from Jim Cassavetes’ film Opening Night, it can be difficult to escape the feeling that Savages take themselves a little too seriously.
There’s a sense that, like kids in a high school band, they worry more about cultivating an image than enjoying themselves, and as some of the early tracks threaten to collapse under frontwoman Jenny Beth’s overbearing vocals, you can’t help but wish that they’d just cut loose and have fun.
Thankfully, after the slightly irrelevant interlude that is ‘Dead Nature’, Silence Yourself really kicks off.
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Beth singing “I’m ready, will you hit me?” on the frantic ‘Hit Me’ marks a clear turning point, as the band finally move past the unwieldy, self-indulgent material.
‘She Will’, ‘No Face’ and ‘Husbands’ are all excellent, combining typically post-punk basslines that build seamlessly from catchy to heavy with up-tempo drumming and shimmering, sometimes distorted guitar riffs.
It’s a breathless, powerful second act, and proves that, while their desire for control robs them of some of the enthusiastic rawness usually associated with new bands, Savages are undoubtedly set for big things.