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Savages

Silence Yourself (Matador)

Reviewed by Michael Toland, Fri., Oct. 4, 2013

ACL Music Fest 2013 Friday Reviews

Savages

Silence Yourself (Matador)

Like its British brethren, Savages draws strength from Seventies post-punk in all its angular, dissonant, melodic glory. On the London quartet's debut Silence Yourself, the group whips up a storm of aggressive rhythms, strident vocalizing, and six-string sheen as if the succeeding pop trends never happened and Gang of Four and Siouxsie & the Banshees rule the charts. Gemma Thompson's reverb-happy guitar swaggers like the love child of Will Sergeant and Rowland S. Howard, slaying with both ringing bells of chords and hell-blazing amp abuse. Bassist Ayse Hassan stokes her mate's flames with undulating licks of her own, while drummer Fay Milton's steady hand keeps the car on the road with her foot on the gas. Jehnny Beth confidently rides this roiling beast like a surfer on a dragon, singing across the twisting melodies more often than alongside them. The foursome wrangles a lassoed tornado swirling with romantic angst and open defiance, couching lyrics like, "Don't worry about breaking my heart/Far bigger things will fall apart," in tension strong enough to crush a submarine. Controlled explosions like the bristling "She Will," predatory "City's Full," and grueling, grinding "Waiting for a Sign" cut a deadly swath without leaving collateral damage. Silence Yourself peaks with "Husbands," borrowing the mantra-minded structure of Patti Smith's Horses for a flame-throwing bullet train of bad will, while "Marshal Dear" closes with a smoky bar piano and a seething cauldron of loathing. Sometimes a slow burn produces the biggest explosion. (1pm, Honda stage)

****

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