[record review] Savages “Silence Yourself” // 07.12.13 @ the Middle East

Savages Silence Yourself

Released May 6, 2013 [Matador/Pop Noire]

Some people will tell you that publishing an album review weeks after dozens of other publications wrote up the same record is a waste of time. Usually, that’s pretty much true. But for Silence Yourself, the much ballyhooed debut from the U.K.’s SAVAGES, maybe it doesn’t hurt to hold off a bit.

A single sporting a doozy of jittery post-punk bewilderment dubbed “Husbands,” a reputation as a killer live act, and a penchant for making utterly ridiculous statements like “Savages are a self-affirming voice to help experience our girlfriends differently, our husbands, our jobs, our erotic life, and the place music occupies into our lives,” pushed a snowball of hype off a mountain last year and it’s been building since. This means music scribes had plenty of time to internally craft their reviews of Silence Yourself while superficial factors skewed whatever they’d write otherwise. What I mean by that is reviews that go something like “Fuck this derivative, prefabricated flavor du jour we’ll all have forgotten in two years,” as well as the press propping up Savages as a modern classic probably decided what they were going to think about the record before they heard a note.

With the power of hindsight freeing us from contrarianism or hyperbole, we can now confidently state that if a person enjoys the bleaker shades of Joy Division and/or kinky sex, then he or she is predisposed to devour this record alive.

“City’s Full” — which should have been titled “Sissy Pretty Love” because we’re pretty sure that phrase also appears in the chorus — and “No Face” exemplify the aforementioned exuberance for post-punk’s caustic washes of guitar over battering grooves paralleled by an abhorrence for the unimaginative. Efficient, bluesy curb-stomper “Hit Me” is already the all-time best song written about hardcore porn idol Belladonna, while velvety yet explosive closing track “Marshal Dear” harkens back to the Lost Highway soundtrack of yore via smokey-cool piano and some sort of woodwind.

None of this makes Silence Yourself a particularly special record — people rip off Joy Division and do things I’m uncomfortable describing to each other all the time (while we’re on the subject, Wax Idols’ new Discipline + Desire LP > this one). But it should debunk the theory that Savages were originally grown in test tubes by the bioengineering division of the British music press.

SAVAGES + JOHNNY HOSTILE | Friday, July 12 @ the Middle East, 472 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge | 8pm, 18-plus, $15 | advance tickets | v:list