Alexandra Savior
The Archer


3.5
great

Review

by Dewinged CONTRIBUTOR (74 Reviews)
January 20th, 2020 | 28 replies


Release Date: 01/10/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Missed the shot by a hair.

Alex Turner is a very ambitious fellow. Not content with a full-time job as the leader of the omnipresent Arctic Monkeys, the man expanded his deeds this past decade into writing for other artists like Mini Mansions or Myles Kane, as well as into producing. The latter happened a couple of years back, and Alexandra Savior was his chosen muse. With her, he wrote and produced the Portland singer’s debut, Belladonna of sadness. Having Savior singing a line like “I sing songs about whatever the fuck they want” just a few seconds into the first track was amusingly revelatory. Turns out, Turner had added a little more than just a personal touch in Savior’s first release. In fact, and to no one’s surprise, the affair was considered almost unanimously as an Alex Turner solo album, channeled by Savior’s voice, whose performance was sadly eclipsed by the towering shadow of her mentor.

Two years later, Alexandra Savior re-appears after breaking free from Turner and leaving the golden jail of Columbia Records, hopping on Danger Mouse’s 30th Century Records instead to present her second release (well, the first true one if you’d agree on the above). The Archer is, simply, a better record. Brooklyn based Sam Cohen (of Yellowbirds fame) has done a remarkable job as a producer, creating a delicious vintage sound that wouldn’t feel out of place on a 60s thriller. If Belladonna of sadness was just testing the waters, The Archer dives fearless into the sound of bands like Portishead or artists like Angel Olsen but giving space to Savior to unwind her talent at will.

“Saving Grace”, as the name implies, is the indisputable highlight of The Archer. Coming from the moody piano driven opener “Soft Currents”, the single makes quite an impactful entrance. Trembling guitars cry on a mournful beat, with Savior singing on a higher, ghostly tone, proving she has the soul to write and perform a standout track on her own. “The Phantom” follows a similar pattern, like a James Bond’s villain theme, and so does the sugar-coated chorus of “But You”. These are some of the peaks in The Archer, but unfortunately, the album doesn’t quite keep up with the quality of the first tracks and loses itself at times during songs like “Can’t Help Myself” or “Bad Disease”. Moreover, The Archer ends rather abruptly. A song like “But You” could have closed the album in a more elegant and memorable manner, something that the brief, cold kiss of title track “The Archer” doesn’t really achieve.

In general, and save a few exceptions, Savior doesn’t really shine as a song-writer either, much less does she sound as an artist who has been unchained and itching to take flight without anyone or anything holding her down. On the contrary, her otherwise gorgeous voice is like a sedative. It carries a fatigue that is both confusing and exasperating, specially in a track like “Howl”, even if it’s just a stylistic choice. It’s not surprising that it matches perfectly the way she appears in every music video released for the singles included in The Archer: an absent look in her eyes, arms crossed, waiting, wandering, or even lying down after losing the battle to complete boredom.

This feeling spills into her music at times, in excess often: a mix of melancholia and apathy hard to brush off after the first few listens, but if given some patience, The Archer reveals itself as a very interesting album when considering where Savior is coming from. It’s a record that shows the artist as she really is, with her virtues and defects in equal measure, all of them wrapped in a terrific production work that speaks for itself. It’s in songs like “Saving Grace”, “Crying all the time” or “But you” where her strength resides, veering towards trip hop and the Bristol sound that made art out of sorrow, and if that is where she’s headed, it’s just a matter of time before she aims and hits the spot right on.



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user ratings (31)
2.9
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
January 20th 2020


19002 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

And now, time to proofread!



Great album, with some not so great tracks, but solid as sadgirl pop goes.



It's on bandcamp: https://alexandrasavior.bandcamp.com/album/the-archer



But check this gem of a track first: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azHzWp1yNa0



Enjoy! (or not!)

Digging: Ginger Baker's Air Force - Ginger Baker's Air Force

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 20th 2020


11958 Comments


Is it just me, or are we getting some really similar art on wildly different releases this year?

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
January 20th 2020


19002 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

you are maybe thinking of Alice Boman's, which is fucking eerie by the way, cause she looks straight at your soul haha

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 20th 2020


11958 Comments


Im definitely thinking the close up portrait style. Even the Halsey like artwork isn't that far off the bring me the Horizon art. But yeah, you're following my train of thought exactly

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
January 20th 2020


19002 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Even Poppy.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
January 20th 2020


19002 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Shouldn't have said Poppy, it killed the thread.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 20th 2020


11958 Comments


Classic Dewi

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
January 20th 2020


19002 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Tried my best joke. We are in the hands of destiny now.

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 21st 2020


33618 Comments


Great review. I felt like this had some very strong moments but overall I couldn't latch on to it. I need to give it another chance though; it was on my list of releases to check this week along with Alice Boman and what I remember from this was noticeably better than Boman's bland debut.

Digging: Waxahatchee - Saint Cloud

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
January 21st 2020


19002 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks Sow. Check "Saving Grace" and "But You", those are the two highlights for me.



It's not mindblowing, but it's definitely an enjoyable album, and the girl has a really nice voice.

GhostB1rd
January 21st 2020


5720 Comments


Chick is pretty and this fits Sput's preference for white girl singer songwriters so naturally this will be a staff AOTY 2020 contender.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
January 21st 2020


19002 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I would be very surprised.

Storm In A Teacup
January 21st 2020


27259 Comments


Knew this would be a 3.5.

Pangea
January 21st 2020


3724 Comments


looks interesing. will give it a listen

Digging: Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d city

Ashtiel
January 21st 2020


927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

loved her ever since I heard "Shades" and I'm glad she's still kickin' around. "Saving Grace" is definitely up there as a new favorite of mine.

JoeTex
January 21st 2020


1115 Comments


lookin like chloe sevingy

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
January 21st 2020


19002 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Saving Grace is pretty good. Abandoned motel ghost girl vibes suit her voice better than the Lanacore.

commonist
January 21st 2020


14 Comments


Excellent review! I agree with you, although I am a total sucker for the vintage bond-esque aesthetic Savior so frequently draws on. Great review for a great album.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
January 21st 2020


19002 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks!

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2020


3193 Comments


Should it be "it’s just a matter of time before she aims and hits the spot right on." Noticed a couple other small typos I can point out later, but otherwise good review as usual!

I actually wasn't huge on Belladonna of Sadness, but I'm loving this. Soft Currents is perfect.



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