Alexandra Savior – ‘The Archer’ review: vivid coolness and cinematic melancholia

The ascendent American indie star's auteurist vision comes to life across this B-movie-inspired artistic triumph

The name Alexandra Savior may be familiar Alex Turner fans. Hailing from Portland, the 24 year-old singer-songwriter collaborated with the Arctic Monkeys frontman on her 2017 debut ‘Belladonna of Sadness’. With Dusty-Springfield-meets-Nancy-Sinatra vocals, Savior’s work evokes a deeply cinematic quality. Now signed to Danger Mouse’s 30th Century Records and collaborating with producer Sam Cohen (best known for his work with lovelorn singer-songwriter Kevin Morby), her vision of 1960’s B-movie-inspired love stories come to life in ‘The Archer’, for which she wrote every song, directed every music video and created the album artwork. 

Over 10 tracks, Savior delves into themes of melancholia, heartbreak and solemn reflection, with lucid metaphors and a blues-tinged sound. Triggered by the feeling of being in love with someone who is disappointed in you, Savior carries herself with a vivid coolness throughout the collection, each track aiming to reflect a certain emotion. 

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‘Crying All The Time’, the first song she wrote for the album, inspiring its theme, is a real standout. With its grand production and grainy vocals, it feels like it’s been lifted from a Quentin Tarantino film. There is substance to it too, as she reflects on her lost love, signing, “My death, it haunts him like a ship / Without a sail.” It seems that she is her most comfortable while basking in this style, as tracks such as ‘Saving Grace’ carry a similar moodiness: “Saving grace / Come here to petrify me / She’s not an angel, my dear / She is a beast,” she croons.

Comparisons can easily be drawn to the likes of Lana Del Rey, Orville Peck and Arctic Monkeys’ ‘Tranquility Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’, as Savior’s breathy vocals are backed by Western-tinged guitars, steady drum beats and the occasional dash of psychedelia. Yet there are moments where the momentum is lost, and it feels like the song falls short of reaching its full potential.

Perhaps this is because there are such distinct moments of brilliance that set the bar high. The final single of the collection, ‘Howl’, is a strong depiction of breaking through and examining the impact of psychological manipulation. The track began life as a poem on one of Saviors ‘experimental sound tapes’ a few years ago; she felt the need to continue building a narrative until its eventual release. The result is an unsettling composition of creeping basslines, heavy synthesisers and eerie lyrics (“Handsome dictator / Of my crimes / I can’t tell if they’re yours / I can’t tell if they’re mine”).

The collection ebbs and flows steadily, and it’s undeniably sleek in its vintage Americana-style production. Some songs leave the listener gagging for more, as Savior flexes masterful lyrics, effortless style and poise. This is a timeless collection.

Details:

Release date: January 10

Record label: 30th Century Records

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