If British rockers Savages tried to pass as contemporaries of Bauhaus and Siouxsie & The Banshees, no one would have doubted them: They too have bat-cave sonics, an eccentric but hard-pummeling rhythm section, a monomaniacally warbling vocalist and a feral texturalist of a guitarist. Their second album sharpens their instrumental attack, while singer Jehnny Beth exposes her bloody heart — nearly every song addresses desire as a force that can destroy a lover’s identity. “Love is a disease/The strongest addiction I know,” she yelps in “Sad Person,” a tune that makes flirtation sound terrifying. Guitarist Gemma Thompson’s prickly, minor-key riffs can get repetitive throughout Adore Life, but they’re bracing in single doses, from the high-friction grind and crazed-sailor’s jig of a solo in “The Answer” to the fuzzy harmonics she spatters over the death-disco groove of “Surrender.”
This story originally appeared in the Feb. 13 issue of Billboard.