In the modern music era, when 9 out of 10 bands sound roughly the same and it’s hard to differentiate between them all as their records are pushed out fast enough to sate the desire of rabid blogs and fans, it’s refreshing to hear a band like Savages who’ve not only taken the time to create a sound, image and manifesto but fiercely stick to it. It’s a manifesto of brutal ferocity, honesty and a rejection of anything that disconnects you from what really matters. Their live shows push this manifesto onto the crowd too where audience members are told to get into the show or get out - no camera phones allowed.
All that on its own would be an incomplete part of the overall artistic performance, or just bluster, if it wasn’t backed up by the music. But their music not only defends the manifesto but emboldens it and grabs you, forcing you to listen. Whilst their influences are clear - Gang Of Four, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Bauhaus amongst others whilst singer Jenny Beth is more than a facsímile of Ian Curtis - they are never derivative, moulding musical inspiration with cinematic and literary references into something powerfully captivating. Something uniquely savage, one might say.
For a band that’s been together little over a year, they sound amazingly tight, even moreso in concert. Individually, they’re superb musicians with Jenny Beth the perfect, engaging vessel for their message. This is a thrilling debut album, one that dares to stoke the fire and add intelligence back into the rock world, a distillation of their power and their manifesto. As such, it might be a pivotal album for the times, encouraging listeners to refocus away from the disposable or ephemeral and towards music as a powerful medium and serious art.