Savages: Adore Life

Post-punk ranters from London with a heart of gold

Credit: Courtesy of Savages Records

With its raised-fist cover photo and violent, primal post-punk grind, you'd expect the second album from arty London band Savages to be an anti-everything screed. But their music is driven by emotions that are almost unprecedented in the genre that gave us Joy Division and Public Image Limited: "Love is the answer," they advise, somewhat shockingly, against the spiked guitar tumult and haymaker drum assault of "Answer," like flowers of romance in full bloom. Vocalist Jehnny Beth's affirming lyrics and torrid, imperious Siouxsie Sioux-style vocals elevate guitar atmospherics and angularly forceful rhythms, giving songs like the explosively lurching "I Need Something New" and the bracing dance-rocker "Evil" an open-armed grandeur. On the seething "Sad Person," Beth reaches across a chasm of icy aloneness to connect with a troubled soul  – "I'm not gonna hurt/Cuz I'm flirting with you," she sings, using confrontational noise to soothe tension rather than crank it up. The album's striking title track could almost be a steely soul ballad. "Maybe I will die, maybe tomorrow, so I need to say I adore life," Beth sings with glorious resolve against an eerie rumble. It's what Joy Division's Eighties might've sounded like if Ian Curtis had found the right anti-depressants.