Review Summary: Savages scream with a propensity to be considered legendary. If Silence Yourself doesn't already establish themselves as a driving force in the present post-punk scene, then surely there isn't anything else that will.
Savages, in their four-piece all-female ensemble, bring out their inner-classic post-punk intricacies while throwing in elements of noise and industrial edge. It’s powerful. It sends a statement of dominance and to say this debut isn’t sending out a message would be a grave mistake. Silence Yourself attractively poises itself as one of the year’s best efforts, not just in recent memory for the start of a band’s career, but it’s pure experimentation and all the baggage that post-punk tends to tag itself with. To be fair it would be unjust to just to equate these stereotypical genre elements upon Savages’ first work. But indeed from “She Will” and its creeping, boiling Jehnny Beth ferocity, along Ayse Hassan’s bass that immersive numbers to “Husbands,” it is a telling sign that they have what it takes to go against the grain.
It isn’t just all loud noises and seething moments upon Savages debut. No, their slow burners, crackling with enough heat to blossom for those who wait – “Waiting for A Sign,” starts out innocently, but barrels us into submission with sumptuous pedal effect as they circle around Beth’s cryptic delivery. Wrap around Ayse Hassan’s crawling bass and Gemma Thompson’s screeching dissension. This alone, breaks apart the perceived harmony Savages were portraying, even if that is excessive levels of noise rock demonstrated on “I Am Here” and “City’s Full” previously. Though the mid-stages of Silence Yourself enter a dead calm with “Dead Nature,” it does so to introduce another re-emergence with “She Will." In essence, it signals far more sure Savages on the second-half of Silence Yourself. The album takes a parsimoniously feel about it, where all involved extend the atmosphere of every moment with a reverberation and overabundance of resonance. It eventually leads to “Husbands,” a representation of visceral, vengeful nature of the band's inner-gender standards as a whole.
Savages have only been together for a little over two years when this record was released, but they have a cohesive air about them. They switch subject matter with great ease, all the while bring about the same swarmed discord and conflict on each track a la 1970s punk groups, not quite overly deafening as The Stooges were, but it indeed shares the same cacophony limit. Whether they clamor on about religion in “Strife,” gender division upon “She Will,” or just bombard us on “City’s Full,” Savages aren’t afraid to start with a swift pace, a slow-burner, or reach outside of our boxed conception of the genre as seen in the closer “Marshal Dear.” All have perplexed facets upon their instrumentation; the key is the way Savages delivers them with force, a sense of intimidation and at the same time it all feels so vulnerable. They know where to maneuver, push, or ease back without hesitation.
Those that are revered in post-punk are able to do this as well – Mission of Burma, Joy Division, Gang of Four, Swans, The Raincoats to name a few. Their ability to weave through religious discussion, dark subjects such as suicide, state of being, corruption in politics, or media all served to enhance their audience and their versatility. To see such focus and complete freedom from Savages is telling. “I Am Here,” screams through the wall of noise brought upon by Thompson, it indeed gestures a coming of the old and new – glory of 80’s post-punk with the same frustrations but of the masculine double standards we all carry into this generation.