The artwork for Savages’ latest album neatly summarises their statement of intent. On the cover we have a defiant fist; flip it over and the inside of the wrist is tattooed with one of our vital organs – the heart, a symbol of love and life.
Savages’ first album was all about the shock of the new, urging us towards an alternative to the million miles per hour lives we inhabit, warning us to stop and feel something, anything. With Adore Life we’re still battling the omniscient “they” but the concept is developed; now love is the major concern.
While certainly not embracing the “sissy pretty love” vilified in ‘City’s Full’ of their debut record, they approach love in many other guises. It opens with the tumbling, furious pace of ‘The Answer’ an ode to the urgency of passion, echoed later in the onslaught of T.I.W.Y.G, a statement on its sometimes brutal power. Yet the album’s pauses are just as important as the barrages of frenetic, distorted guitars and crescendoing repeated mantras. The transition to a major key for the hook of ‘Adore’ is a stark departure from the biting tone of much of their material. It’s not without its urgency (or a build to a howling call for that matter) but the more uplifting tone is a pleasant surprise that works well with their unblinking sincerity.
Perhaps this is what they mean when vocalist Jehnny Beth cries “I need something new in my ears”: the anger has simmered to something more like desperation and with it comes a sound just as insistent and very similar on the whole, just a touch more openly vulnerable. It’s only a chink mind you – they are Savages after all and weapons remain raised – but in many ways it only commands more respect for the formidable four-piece.