Monday, 21 May 2012

BAND OF THE YEAR SO FAR: Savages, live at White Heat

First published in Loud And Quiet

White Heat, Madame Jojos
3rd April 2012

When a band can count the number of gigs they’ve played on two hands and still have room to click their fingers in time, you can usually expect a jumbled jigsaw of their intended sound – the right pieces in the wrong places; wonky edges mashed together haphazardly. But to discover Savages in their primitive state is to gaze on a 1,000-piece jigsaw of a monochrome cityscape, not only completed but glued and framed up in the knowledge that this right here is already a work of art.

Hyperbole indeed, but warranted when you’re standing in front of four thoroughbred rock stars in the making, angular and louche, delivering us from the apathetic navel-gazing of chillwave with their brittle minimalism cooked up from scraps of Jim Jarmusch, Lydia Lunch, Kobo Abe, Gun Club, vacant stares, yelps of rage and splattered, smudged guitars layered over taut and solid rhythms.

What it is not – though some will no doubt try to draw the link – is the coquettish prankster punk of The Slits, nor the mannered goth of Siouxsie. All is cool, fleshless and sharp, with volume and dissonance on the offence as singer Jehnny Beth, with starkly cropped hair and roaming eyes, repeats words boiled down to their unpleasant essence: “She will, she will, she will,” “Husbands, husbands, husbands,” “Hit me, hit me.” No strangers to the music industry, they’re playing by their rules this time, so no downloads for you yet. Catch Savages in their natural state instead – alive.

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