Savages and Bo Ningen - Words To The Blind

by Andy Brown Rating:8 Release Date:2014-11-17

Every few years there seems to be something of a post-punk revival, yet it’s fair to say that Savages offered up a particularly raw, exhilarating take on the well-trodden path of angular guitars and jerky, danceable rhythms with their debut LP, Silence Yourself.  

The sneaking suspicion that Savages had something different to offer comes to full fruition with Words to the Blind. Here the band collaborates with Japan-via-London psychedelic types Bo Ningen, who have released three sparkling albums of suitably fried acid rock, imbued with spontaneity and more riffs than you can shake a stick at. This was always going to be an interesting listen.

Words to the Blind is a wonderful surprise which exceeds expectations with ease. A genuinely adventurous piece of music, the track stretches out over 37 frazzled minutes of sonic experimentation and joyously unpredictable noise. The trip begins with quietly whispered voices, gradually building around the cathartic, sonic fury of the two bands multiple guitarists. It's a chaotic, discordant melting-pot of sounds that’s somehow becomes utterly captivating.

Anyone expecting something even approaching a mainstream sound will be pinned back in their seat by the layers of Swans-worthy noise. Certainly, the lengthy, ever-building instrumentals on Swans last two records wouldn’t be an unsuitable reference point. Certain sections of the piece, and indeed the overall vibe, even bring a more rock-orientated Throbbing Gristle to mind.

The track moves and constantly evolves, from tumbling, free-jazz noise, marching drums, strangled guitars and distant, disjointed voices to Jehnny Beth’s ever commanding vocals, which appear somewhere around the 25-minute mark. Make no mistake, this isn’t music for the faint of heart but should please those looking for something just that little bit terrifying, just that little bit special. Good to see the art, experimentation and love of noise still alive and well within two of London’s finest bands. Inspiring stuff. 

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