Savages – Silence Yourself album review

Savages highly anticipated debut album Silence Yourself does not fail to impress us with raw post-punk energy, screaming guitars and vocalist Jehnny Beth’s howl. This collection of fast paced carnage feels like unchartered territory, a fresh look into the rock genre, despite the fact we’ve been here before. The effect may be due to an all girl line-up and that the drought for a worthy, fresh rock group has been severe. The release of this album aptly proves these four chicks are the real deal.

Savages have built anticipation with the release of two singles in June 2012, “Flying to Berlin” and the monster “Husbands.” After magnetic appearances at Cochella and SXSW this year, the group has gained high praise from critics and new fans alike. The band is made up by French singer Jehnny Beth (real name: Camille Berthomier) and three London natives: guitarist Gemma Thompson, bassist Alyse Hassan, and drummer Fay Milton. Jehnny, once an actress, was previous part of and indie duo called John & Jehn, and Fay has a background in garage rock. Silence Yourself was released on Jehnny’s own label, Pop Noire and Matador Records on May 6th this year.

From the opening bass line of “Shut Up,” Savages deliver their art with conviction. They have a bad-ass attitude that fits the music entirely too well, creating a nice pocket of creative space that is explored throughout the album. Jehnny’s vocal delivery ranges from a wavering vibrato snarl, to a blood curdling scream with the occasional ear-piercing yelp. “I Am Here” builds in tempo until Jehnny reaches a desperate falsetto plea. Heavy guitar is proudly displayed, expertly produced and larger than life. The sound of the drums throughout the album give an encompassing room effect nearly as impressive as the first time experiencing surround sound.

“She Will” is lyrically bold, speaking of a sexually dominant woman: “she will enter the bed, she will kiss like a man… you will get used to it.” It is the second most intense song next to “Husbands,” which is re-released for the album with a different recording of the song. Speeding guitar bass and drums amplify the songs progression until the train flys off the tracks in a sudden stop finish.  The group only slows down for a few tunes, namely “Waiting for a Sign,” “Dead Nature,” and the closer “Marshall Dear.” The last repeats the album title and actually comes off as an operatic and dynamic ballad, complete with pub-piano and saxophone, showing a rarely seen side of the group.

The bottom line is that on Silence Yourself, Savages show us they really know how to rock. In a relatively flat scene, finally the guitars have true grit. Grungy, deep rolling bass lines and viciously pounded drums fill the lows. No tempo is too fast. No note too high. Vocal prowess, expert instrumentation and an obvious tightness amongst the groups four members leaves no question as to why so many heads have turned their direction.

By John Hanson

John Hanson aka Johnny Rooftop is a musician and writer based in Boston. John has been focusing on his writing, performing, recording and sound engineering. Follow John on Twitter @johnnyrooftop, or visit to stay up to date on all his projects.

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