Savages Look Inward for 'Adore Life'

Photo: Colin Lane

BY Ben CarneyPublished Jan 18, 2016

In 2013, Savages released their debut LP, Silence Yourself to widespread critical acclaim. The album was nominated for the Mercury Prize and praised by critics for its harsh, uncompromising vision. On January 22, the band release their anticipated follow-up, Adore Life, on Matador, but according to frontwoman Jehnny Beth, they won't be replicating that winning formula.
"The first record, we wanted to record live and use the recording as a document of how we were at the time," Beth tells Exclaim! "For the second record, we wanted a different approach — why would you do something twice? We also put all our trust in our producer Johnny Hostile; we felt very comfortable working with him [and] there was a dynamic that was different from the first one."
During the recording of the album, Beth told Pitchfork that Adore Life is the solution to the problems outlined on Silence Yourself, though she tells Exclaim! that Savages don't necessarily have all the answers. "The second record is talking about love; it's a subject that has more questions than answers I think — even if we are trying to look for answers, we don't have any. We are on a quest for them. So the album explores different feelings and emotions; sometimes they're opposites."
Adore Life certainly feels like a departure, and Beth seems adamant about their progression, but she stresses that the songs on Silence Yourself still operate in their own space. "Yes you change, you're not the same person, but that doesn't mean that 'Hit Me' or 'She Will' don't have the meaning to me anymore, they do. We still play the songs live and I still believe in them."
One of the new album's standouts is "Adore," a swelling ode to life largely inspired by the activist-poetry of Minnie Bruce Pratt. According to Beth, drawing from a variety of art forms is crucial. "Sometimes we don't realize how much different arts are connected; the idea that poetry could influence painters for example. There's a whole new field to plunge into and discover once you understood one. I always enjoy making connections between artists."
Sources of inspiration can come from anywhere for Savages. "A lot of things are inspiring — as long as they inspire you then it's fine. If you need to go to a sex party every month to get inspiration, then you should do that. Whatever you have to do to feel alive, and I think inspiration is part of being alive." Following another band's legacy — many critics have lumped Savages in with other post-punk revivalists — is not one of those inspirations. "If you like a band, it's because it speaks to you, it's saying something that you need right now, it brings you emotions, you feel part of something, you believe in what it says. But if you like a band because it reminds you of another band? I personally don't feel excitement in that."
Her detachment from her post-punk forebears seems real — she calls most forms of imitation "empty as fuck" — and maintains her focus is on keeping it personal. "You can refer to the past and by inspired by the past, as much as the present and the future, there's no right or wrong way of doing it. I don't believe that you start a band because you want to play like Wire or the Cure. You start a band because you have something to say."
The band's upcoming tour includes two Canadian stops: Montreal on April 2 and Toronto on April 4. See the full tour dates and watch the video for "Adore" below.
Tour dates:
01/26 London, England - The 100 Club
02/18 Bexhill, England - De La Warr Pavilion
02/19 Cambridge, England - Junction
02/21 Glasgow, Scotland - Art School
02/22 Manchester, England - Albert Hall
02/23 Leeds, England - Irish Centre
02/26 Dijon, France - Generiq Festival
02/27 Lyon, France - Epicerie Moderne
02/28 Bordeaux, France - Rockschool Barbey
03/02 Brussels, Belgium - Botanique Orangerie
03/05 Malmo, Sweden - Babel
03/06 Stockholm, Sweden - Kagelbanan
03/07 Copenhagen, Denmark - Vega
03/13 Milan, Italy - Magazzini Generali
03/15 Zurich, Switzerland - Dynamo
03/16 Amsterdam, Netherlands - Melkweg
03/17 London, England - Roundhouse
03/27 Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
03/28 New York, NY - Irving Plaza
03/29 Brooklyn, NY - Warsaw
03/31 Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer
04/01 Boston, MA - Paradise Rock Club
04/02 Montreal, QC - Corona Theatre
04/04 Toronto, ON - Danforth Music Hall
04/05 Detroit, MI - St. Andrews Hall
04/07 Chicago, IL - Metro
04/08 St. Louis, MO - The Ready Room
04/09 Lawrence, KS - Granada Theater
04/11 Dallas, TX - Trees
04/12 Austin, TX - Emo's 

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