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This music review was written by Lloyd.
It’s difficult to discuss the buzzy new London band Savages without delving a bit into what they represent culturally and socially along with what they do musically.
First, unfortunately, the fact that Savages consists of four women and no men is still at least somewhat noteworthy. Savages certainly isn’t the first “all-woman” band to achieve renown, but my knowledge of rock history is sufficient to know that the precedents are relatively few among actual instrument-playing bands, leaving aside a long lineage of singing-only “girl groups” from the Supremes to the Spice Girls. Savages is by no means a “girl group” (or “girl band”) attempting to cultivate a glamour-based image alongside their musical and gender identity. That lack of concern with manufactured cuteness and/or sexiness is beyond refreshing; it’s a vitally important stance to take.
Second, and equally significant, Savages has taken on the self-appointed task of rebuking the hyper-mediated, information-saturated, stimulus-seeking culture that has led to the visibility of more smart phone screens than eyes and faces at live music events these days. Savages is already gaining notoriety for demanding otherwise, with signs posted at their shows insisting that audience members put away their devices and engage with the actual moment and space that they have chosen and paid to occupy. The text on the album cover above also speaks to this imperative.
Here’s the thing – when a band makes such a demand as a precondition for playing live, it then absolutely has to deliver on the implicit promise that its performance will be worthy of such close attention. Assuming Savages’ debut album Silence Yourself is an indication of their ability to deliver, then I find it likely that they make good on that daunting promise every time they take the stage.
Silence Yourself is gripping and remarkably consistent in its drama and power. It’s loud and abrasive and angry.