IOU Review: January 2016

A new segment where I’ll be taking a look at any albums and singles I’ve missed over the month. Want something reviewed? Let me know via twitter.

Savages – Adore Life

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There’s no easy way to address the elephant in the room when it comes to reviewing Savages latest album: this isn’t the same band we’re used to dealing with. The same untameable and aggressive bunch of women we loved to deal with on 2013’s Silence Yourself where we saw them providing face melting, punch in the face-like tracks like Husbands, Hit Me and No Face. 

Instead the band have decided to go against the bands path of turning it all the way up to 11 and toning it down a bit. Whilst there’s some moments where the band seem to tether back into old territory, for the most part it’s a much calmer, less serious sound that seems to struggle to be joyous and enjoyable, verging on bland and dull from time to time. This brings the albums overall quality down quite a bit though this all comes down to how the idea of a band once known for their ferocity letting their instincts take a back seat to take a breather.

6/10, For Fans Of: Foals, PJ Harvey

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DIIV – Is The Is Are

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Whilst every other publication under the sun can’t seem to review the latest album from New York City shoe-gazers DIIV without rambling on about the problems that faced the band, I’m gonna avoid it at all costs. There may be some relevancy between the issues and the subject matter in hand on their sophomore release but the glaring issue with this record is that it shows little of the promise that Dopamine showcased when it was released last year.

Spanning over 17 tracks lasting over an hour in total, DIIV can’t seem to justify the length of this controversy surrounded LP regardless of what glimmers of genuinely great music there is on show. Though Is The Is Are may address the issues regarding drugs in quite an enjoyable way, sadly the moments in which it does are too far and few between.

5/10, For Fans Of: Beach Fossils, Deerhunter

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Porches – Pool

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Every now and again, I’ll come across a seemingly innocent looking album that I don’t expect much from. Last year this was the case for Jamie XX and as you could tell from my end of year review, I was pleasantly surprised and whilst Porches recent LP may have not evoked the same levels of shock, it’s one that I had a thoroughly good time with.

In the sound department, twangy, poppy synths are littered throughout Pool that automatically get my mind racing to Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs whilst on the lyrical playing field, we get talks about parties, isolation, depression and an abundance of metaphors to water and swimming pools. Pool is pretty much what I’d expect from Bret Easton Ellis’ Less Than Zero if it was ever adapted musically and that’s the greatest and most accurate compliment I can give this album, one that is sure to become one of the hidden gems of 2016.

8/10, For Fans Of: Metronomy, The XX

Track review: Savages – Adore

Savages are not a conventional “girl band” in the way that the likes of Little Mix are. In fact, the use of that term seems obsolete as the London-based act pack tracks with such brutish force that they put most other bands in the genre to shame, helping to destroy this stereotype of female groups being capable of tracks only about men and relationships.

Whilst their debut album Silence Yourself showcased this expertly, it also showed that Savages aren’t just feisty, snarling women who love to sing about polygamy: they can also bash out a well made slow burner (see Waiting For A Sign to hear the evidence for yourself).Their recently released track Adore, off their upcoming album Adore Life that is set to release later this month, is further proof of this.

Jehnny Beth’s vocals are no doubt the standout feature of this track with a conquering, all powerful delivery accompanied by a somewhat eery and omnipresent guitar. While this builds up to a finale that arguably fizzles more than it bangs, the song’s contemplative lyrics about life and the problems that come along with it manage to save it from being anything less than great.

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A second album is often the most difficult for a band and whilst many have tried and failed to win over fans, either by totally changing their sound or just dishing out the same album with a bit more polish, it’s clear that Savages aren’t afraid to experiment with this new found minimalism.