London's all-female Savages were the most hyped band of 2012.
The first single was quite trivial, though:
Husbands (2012) relies on an acceleration that almost mocks the Dead Kennedys' Holiday in Cambodia,
and Flying to Berlin mixes danceable beats, suspense-filled guitar lines
and sensual/spunky singing.
The album Silence Yourself (Matador, 2013) both expanded and focused
their style. Up front is vocalist Jehnny Beth, equipped with a
confrontational, frenquently tuneless, tone that blends the whiplash of Patti Smith with the witchy invocation of Siouxsie Sioux.
Her lyrics fuse themes of sex and anger, confusingly mixing desire, fear and
However, she opens the album with Shut Up, i.e. with a refrain mildly influenced by U2's I Will Follow.
Guitarist Gemma Thompson does little to ingratiate herself, clearly not a
virtuoso of the instrument, although the atmospheric She Will benefits from her
quasi-surf quasi-twang riff, but can unleash a torrent of squalling distortion,
playing the destructive role that Brian Gregory played in the
Guitar noise salvages the power-ballad Strife.
The rest is done by the killing rhythm section:
Fay Milton's drums and especially Ayse Hassan's bass.
The duo turns the simple No Face into a propulsive orgiastic experience.
The throbbing bass lifts City's Full from utter mediocrity.
Had it lasted longer,
the brief Hit Me that closes the album could have been a highlight,
a raunchy pow-wow dance that would make the Fall
The album includes some truly awful songs, which probably means that it was
released to exploit the hype but before the band could assemble a decent repertory.
The one certainty is that
Ayse Hassan is one of the most impressive talents to emerge in the 21st century.
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