Arriving on the scene in 2013, the frantic post-punk battering of Savages’ debut Silence Yourself, introduced itself like a punch in the face, followed by a swift kick to the groin. Corrosive and at times bordering on feral, it still sounded deliberate and controlled, and was received with pretty much universal acclaim. On their follow-up Adore Life, an album about “every kind of love”, the London-based foursome gamble on a less icy sound and it would be a brave and rather stupid man to bet against this all-girl gang. From the opening stampeding riff of the visceral lead single, The Answer, it’s immediately evident that Savages have stepped up to the challenge and pull no punches. “This is what you get when you mess with love,” roars vocalist Jehnny Beth on the riotous T.I.W.Y.G, a thunderous bass groove reminiscent of the early art-punk of Jane’s Addiction. Even when they slow the pace, the crawling bass of the moody Adore swells to an hypnotic climax. Adore Life is more than a welcoming pummelling.
Curve of the Earth
Self-produced and recorded in their self-built studio in a disused button factory, the fifth album from English indie prog-poppers Mystery Jets is said to be “the band’s most personal and musically definitive record to date”. Rediscovering their gang mentality, Curve of the Earth sees the Eel Pie Island eccentrics at their most experimental to date. Welcoming new bassist Jack Flanagan and inspired by the likes of King Crimson and Pink Floyd, swirling opener Telemore takes a dreamy cinematic journey into the cosmos, while both Saturnine and Blood Red Balloon continue the astronomy theme. There is more than a touch of Dave Gilmour about the psychedelic instrumental sections and guitar solos. Frontman Blaine Harrison’s locked himself away in a remote cabin to pen the lyrics and the songs exude a certain outsider charm. “The people walking down below, crawling home alone like spiders as the cancer slowly starts to grow,” he sings on the anthemic Telemore. His evolution as a songwriter shows great promise for the Jets future galactic explorations.
Produced by the band’s long-time collaborator Ed Buller, Night Thoughts is Suede’s seventh album, and their second full-length recording since reuniting back in 2010. And, remarkably, it’s one of their best. Accompanied by a full-length feature film, a reflection of one man’s life as he drowns off a deserted beach, the follow-up to 2013’s comeback album Bloodsports sees the band pensive and brooding as ever. “Night Thoughts is about those moments when you wake at 4am, with the walls of your life caving in. It’s an album about fear and love and loss,” says 48-year-old frontman Brett Anderson. First single Outsiders surges with the same grandiose bravado that Suede possessed when they first wowed the indie art crowd in the early 1990s. Like Kids and No Tomorrow are as good as anything they’ve produced, Andersen snaking and soaring through the choruses, the singer’s trademark timbre sounding rich and effortless throughout, as Richard Oakes’ guitar drives the tracks all the way back to the glorious days of Dog Man Star.
After three decades and plenty of shifts in personnel, Dystopia, the 15th album from American metallers Megadeth marks a back-to-basics approach for Dave Mustaine and his head-banging crew. “People who dig this rigfage-kind of band stuff, they want what they want and they don’t want a bunch of surprises,” states the 54-year-old frontman, “There’s a bit of a snottiness to the record that kind of exemplifies where my head’s at.” Mustaine and long-time bassist David Ellefson are now joined by Lamb of God drummer Chris Adler and Angra’s Brazilian guitarist Kiko Loureiro, who co-wrote three of the songs with the challenge of “respecting the history of the band”. With plenty of duelling guitar work and tempo shifts, Mustaine still muddles through with his limited vocal range. Old-school fans of the Rust in Peace era will be happy to hear Dystopia is far removed from the polished melodic rock of 2013’s Super Collider, but despite the frenetic Death From Within and The Threat is Real, it’s still a long way off their ’90s thrash heyday.