January 22 2016 (Matador)
Words: Alison Mack
Nearly four years on from their abrasive post-punk debut single 'Husbands' and the 'Silence Yourself' album which followed it, Savages come into this second album with a lighter hand on the tiller, defined by emotional declarations and what is really a collection of love-themed songs, in all the senses of the word.
Indeed, there is a lot of love on here. Right from the opening track and lead single 'The Answer', Jehnny Beth is exhorting with ferocious screams that “Love is the answer!” as Gemma Thompson pummels out her bruising guitar riffs. 'Sad Person' takes things a step further with the pronouncement that, "Love is a disease/The strongest addiction I know/What happens in the brain/ Is the same as the rush of cocaine", over a rocky mixing of abrasive guitars and fierce drums.
Elsewhere, on 'When In Love' she ponders the question, “Is it love/or is it boredom/that took me up to your bedroom?” And even by closer 'Mechanics', the age-old 'what is love?' poser still seems to have eluded her:"I want to know the come and go/the mechanics and all the tricks of love." Don't we all.
The brash 'T.I.W.Y.G' is vital and unforgiving with Ayse Hassan’s frenzied bassline and Fay Milton’s relentless drums railing as Beth finds out, “This is what you get when you mess with love”; this earlier toned down on ‘Adore' where Hassan leaves Thompson’s guitar flow and Beth’s lament styled vocal to hold court.
'Adore Life' is an impressive work that while leaving some of the band's more irascible punk vibes behind, shows progression and intrepid spirit.