I had very high expectations for this album. Their previous album, Silence Yourself, had a refresing post-punk sound with amazing bass lines, great powerful drums, a guitar full of distortion and reverb with scream-like sounds that I still don’t understand how are made, and vocals full of strength. I was lucky to be able to see them play in Bogotá during the Festival Estereo Picnic of 2014. Their live-act was superb. It is one of those bands that transmit a tremendous energy during the performance.
However, this album is really lacking in some of the elements that made Silence Yourself great. Although the bass lines are still on point, the songs don’t transmit the same energy and power of their previous work. I also found the lyrics a little bit weak (for example The Answer or T.I.W.Y.G.). The fact that the vocals were hidden below the guitar and bass sounds didn’t help on this.
My favourite songs were Adore and Surrender. In the first one the the bass and reverb of the lead guitar complement the vocals very well. Yes, it is not a song full of grit like the ones in Silence Yourself. In fact it is the slowest song in all the album (could it be a ballad-like song? It seems to me so, at least in the chorus). However, I think it shows that with the simplest elements of their previous work they can have a complete song that shows the strength of all the members. The second song, Surrender, explores very interesting sounds. It has a constant distortion background and more of those little weird sounds in the guitar lead that complement very well the vocals. For example, the section between 0:49 and 0:55 where the high-pitch sound of the guitar matches the strongest parts of the vocals, or the drums during the chorus. Those little details made me love this song.
In March of this year I will go to one of their concerts. Let’s see if this album sounds better live than on record.
I would like to recommend you to listen to Words to the blind, a 37-min live record of a collaboration between Savages and Bo Ningen. It is full of improvisation and call-and-responde between both bands. It has more of that “Fuckers” sound (a song that they usually played to close their performances in the Silence Yourself tour). I enjoyed it more than at least half of the songs of Adore Life.