Best Albums of 2013 #26: Savages – Silence Yourself

Savages - Silence Yourself

Montaigne would have loved Silence Yourself. In the 16th century, he attacked lying as an “accursed vice” and bemoaned the “horror and weight” inherent in its every manifestation. There’s something very similar to that sentiment running through this debut album from Savages. This is a record incapable of falsehood; one that stands in disgusted opposition to anything that poses or in any way adopts insincerity. It’s too serious; too bold. It’s utterly contemptuous of the candy floss fronts worn by society and finds a roughshod satisfaction in ripping them to shreds. Through every second of Silence Yourself‘s brutal course, it lays waste to illusions, burying them under colossal riffs, primal bass lines, and torrents of brilliantly pissed-off lyricism from lead, Jenny Beth.

Though, their most thrilling attribute is how Savages are loyal to their vision; how they dismantle lies while refusing to glorify the truth. It’s rare that an LP manages to attract and repel in equal measure, but that’s exactly what goes on here. “City’s Full” is one of the most aggressively exciting numbers of the year but despises the “sissy, pretty love” of the multitudes in favor of the “stretch marks on your thighs”. The feverish delirium of the guitar scratches on “Shut Up” disturbingly complement the threat of violence displayed later on tracks like “Hit Me” and, though “Marshall Dear” ostensibly feels like the calm after a particularly furious storm, the tale of death and suicide that unfolds transforms the safe haven it initially suggests into nothing more than a cruel mirage.

But by then, it comes as no surprise. For eleven superb tracks, Savages hold existence up to the most unforgiving of lights and hypnotize us with its intensity; they rub our faces in the dirt of reality and somehow bring us out smiling.