savages

This time last year, after just a handful of tiny gigs, Savages’ live shock and awe tactics had generated a level of clamorous hyperbole virtually unheard of since Britain’s indie A&Rs first sniffed ‘The Modern Age’ EP. The serrated, airless clatter of ‘Husbands’ and ‘She Will’ – both present here – promised much from a punk band able to balance raw and intense performances with a considered art-rock-meets-no-wave aesthetic. So it’s no small disappointment to discover that the four-piece have turned heel and created what is in fact a deeply conventional rock & roll album, one that wears its post-punk sonic signifiers like spiky accessories yet fails to engage with the radical artistic sensibilities that underpinned that most fertile of genres. The dirty thrills of ‘Husbands’ and ‘City’s Full’ have been wiped clean in the re-recordings, while the monochrome dramas of ‘Strife’ and ‘Waiting For a Sign’ hammer on relentlessly like a speed-freak Hedda Gabler, weighed down by bloated low-end dynamics. It’s not all dull – the skittering racket of ‘Hit Me’ is faithful to the volcanic derangement of their performances and gothic torch song closer ‘Marshal Dear’ breaks apart the suffocating, grey-on-grey atmosphere with the simple addition of piano and reed instruments – but aside from these occasional flickers of experimentation, ‘Silence Yourself’ seems like an opportunity wasted.

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