Les Savy Fav - Root for Ruin - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Les Savy Fav - Root for Ruin

by Louise Harlow Rating:9 Release Date:2010-09-13

So this one's about three weeks tardy. A knicker-twist inducing online link last month prompted Les Savy Fav to release Root for Ruin digitally from Aug 3 onwards, a full month ahead of it's scheduled release date. Me and my embryonic review, being ill-prepared for this shunt forward, have been left high and dry.

Whilst others availed themselves of Root for Ruin's 11 track majesty (either noblely, legitimately or otherwise) I mostly jigged about to the smart falsetto frisk of 'Patty Lee', wondering how one is supposed surpass 2007's Let's Stay Friends. Apparently it's effortless- simply serve up the perfect late summer antidote to glo-fi/lo-fi/chillwave- a slab of East Coast menace from a LSF in fine vintage form.

Root for Ruin is propelled by the same heavy melodicism of Let's Stay Friends- early-emo sensibilities burn somewhat improbably through the thunder clouds of the onslaught of lacerating guitar waves, revealing LSF's beating heart not entirely wrought of lead. The yearning of 'Let's Get Out of Here' flatly refuses the wrongfoot - it's the gnarly wolf in sheep's clothing that never attacks. Tim Harrington's vocal, underpinned by the squirm of volatile guitars, is short on its trademark spit and seeth, leaving early LSF fans maybe wondering whether the incendiary tendencies which wrought shit-starters like 'Cut It Out' have burnt out...

Shouldn't worry just yet. Even on the kiss-off to LA in 'Sleepless in Silverlake', where restrained guitar arcs and brooding bass fuzz lay Harrington's vocal bare and vulnerable, the sting of his lyrics is palpable: "These kids will kill you just because they can/ Their teeth are bleached and their tits are tanned'. Album opener 'Appetites' turns the opposite trick with gleeful menace. A belligerent vocal line butts heads with circling, smart guitars, and the lyrical battery of affection - "I'll love you till the last/ I'll love you till the last" - comes as more threat than promise.

It's an album manifesto leaving no one in any doubt of the noir intent of LSF. 'Dirty Knails' and 'Calm Down' pulse with pysch-surf chromatic guitar tides fit to stir The Dead Kennedys back to life and a melodic sensibility that keeps fairly meaty guitar sections from veering into pointless bombast. The similar dark mischief of 'Lips and Stuff' somewhat improbably rips the booty call out from under faceless r&b smooth operators and proves that Harrington is, if nothing else, a romantic bastard: "We don't even say we kiss/ we just touch our lips up to our lips and stuff".

LSF's party piece has always been the ability to churn out three/four minute long monsters which slink imperceptibly from a benign groove to the seventh circle hell and back again before you can say volatile. This mercurial savviness is alive and well in the seething wind tunnel of standout track 'High and Unhinged's' guitar arcs and lyrical spit. An articulate melodic drive sustains the perfect equilibrium with distain-preoccupied lyrics: "You've buried your friends/ and you're keeping a list". It's the perfect execution of the melancholic euphoria which no one else can master in quite the same way, and makes Les Savy Fav truly mad, bad and dangerous to know.

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