Listen to the track below
Shortly after the release of Savages’ 2013 debut, Silence Yourself, Jehnny Beth published a Tumblr post about how her producer/paramour Johnny Hostile converted her to the dark arts of grindcore and death metal. Recounting an early Savages gig in Holland where Hostile served as the opening act, she writes, “Before we came onstage, Johnny said ‘I wanna see a mosh pit for these girls, fuck sake’. And so they did. I love that he said that. I love that he sees that angle in our music instead of the usual Joy Division/Siouxsie comparison we get all the time.” With the tetchy first teaser from Savages’ upcoming sophomore record, those fiercely physical pleasures become less unknown.
The video for “The Answer” sees Savages performing for a small, increasingly shirtless crowd losing their shit in a non-descript indoor space—it’s like the “Smell Like Teen Spirit” video relocated to an art-gallery loft, the choreographed anarchy replaced by violently turbulent POV handycam shots. Accordingly, the song’s stoner-punk swirl isn’t just an invitation to mosh, it’s a musical manifestation of the circle-pit experience: Gemma Thompson’s gnarly, gnashing riff powers the dizzying circular motion, Ayşe Hassan’s full-contact basslines leave bruises, while Fay Milton’s kit-toppling rhythm conjures that feeling of being constantly on the run but never quite finding your feet. Savages have always channeled their sonic intensity from lyrical intimacy, but “The Answer” declares all-out war between its tough sound and tender sentiment. “Love is the answer,” Beth insists, but in this case, confusion is sex.