Savages – “Adore” (Singles Going Steady)

Savages does exceptionally well in creating a gun-to-the-head kind of atmosphere within "Adore".

Timothy Gabriele: This is the first thing I’ve come across by Savages that has actually gripped me. They’re still a pretty fundamentally conservative band sonically. For all the comparisons Savages gets to “post-punk”, one could easily find more damaged, spectral, unhinged, nihilistic and/or desolate attempts at gothic blues on just about any Lydia Lunch or Bad Seeds record where the skronk of wailing feedback or the clangorous clatter of junkyard percussion howled out distressed animal noises so alarming they muddied the four track. Savages instead here sounds austere and clean, but this actually plays to their advantage as Jenny Beth rattles off dispassionate affirmations as they are undercut by the music’s minor chord disdain. And even though the structure breaks off a bit unusually in the midsection, you can count your watch to the big buildup at the end, which is not to say it doesn’t do the job work. They’re just working with proven hypotheses only. [8/10]

Jordan Blum: For some reason, I get a Sinéad O’Connor vibe from the very start. The way she stares at the viewer with antagonism and prophetic starkness. Likewise, the usage of other figures throughout the video is a common tactic to suggest even more social commentary and pathos. It works well here. As for the music, it’s sparse but apocalyptic and bleak, and it builds nicely into a frenzied outcry. There’s a great sense of dynamics overall. The lyrics are haunting as well, and the final moments are a hellish slice of heaven. I’ve never heard of this group before, but I want to check them out now. [8/10]

Steve Leftridge: Jehnny Beth adores life and is ready to go a few rounds with whoever suggests otherwise. Or at least take you down in a post-punk death-staring contest. When Beth goes into the chorus, with those closeup shots that penetrate the fourth wall with her severe delivery, she makes Sinead O’Connor look about as serious as Left Shark. My favorite parts of the video are the bits when the band glares at the camera as if they’re waiting for the shoot to start, pissed that they can’t go back to the car and listen to Depeche Mode. Enjoy the silence, ladies. [6/10]

Kevin Korber: I don’t think I can ever truly love this band; they’ve always struck me as a duller version of Siouxsie and the Banshees. Having said that, Jehnny Beth can sing, and this sinewy ballad blows everything from their debut out of the water. Now they’re getting somewhere. [6/10]

Dustin Ragucos: Savages does exceptionally well in creating a gun-to-the-head kind of atmosphere within “Adore”. That said, lead singer Jehnny Beth also channels the haunted and doomed wisp within the Cranberries’ “Zombie”, as well as the headstrong vibe of Joan Baez. There’s something within “Adore” that wants to bite the hand that feeds, even though such hand deliberates life and death. [8/10]

John Garratt: The music business has sanded down the Manchester-lite sound to formula and repetition. And if you really understand the “urgency of life” like these two pairs of mopey, vacant eyes, then you know that it’s far too short to be spent on formula and repetition. [4/10]

SCORE: 6.66