Earlier this year, Savages’ Jehnny Beth told Pitchfork the band’s aim on album two was to write “the loudest songs ever”. The quartet have just revealed ‘The Answer’, the first cut from that record (called ‘Adore Life’), and it certainly lives up to that billing.
Guitarist Gemma Thompson brings thundering, unrelenting riffs like battering ram charges against your eardrums, furiously attacking and never letting up. It’s aggressive and powerful; a teeth-bared, fists-clenched return. But while ‘The Answer’ is full of fury sonically, there’s also a vulnerability to it too – specifically in Jehnny Beth’s lyrics. “If you don’t love me, don’t love anybody,” she sings in the chorus, strength in her soft tone even if the words themselves belie a weakness and insecurity in her heart. The band have said this record is about “being the solution, not the problem”, and here Jehnny Beth concludes that, above all, “love is the answer”.
The band have been playing the track, along with a handful of others from ‘Adore Life”, at recent shows. At Field Day at London’s Victoria Park in June, it stood out as a forceful moment in what’s already a set full of tension and drama. Once it’s burrowed deeply into Savages’ audiences’ heads, it should be a moment of pure exhilaration at gigs – a release for both band and crowd. Thirty seconds before the song’s end – on record at least – there’s an abrupt stop, a pause for breath before a final short, sharp burst. Sounds like it’ll be needed.
‘Adore Life’ is released on January 22 via Matador.