When I pulled together my musical advent of the decade last Christmas, Adore Life by Savages was right up there. At the time, I described it as “an album with more authenticity, more urgency” than any other of the decade. I know that I wasn’t alone in that assessment. The follow-up was eagerly anticipated.
After a seemingly interminable length of time, there is white smoke puffing from the chimney. It’s not to herald Savages III, though. Oh no. This marks something that has transpired to be even greater – the debut solo album from Savages frontperson, Jehnny Beth.
To Love Is To Live is an absolute triumph. You can read my thoughts in more detail in the recent review I had published on Louder Than War.
But, in short, it’s a strong contender for album of the year – even in a year as strong as this one.
If I have one tiny gripe it is connected with the running order on the album. I failed to realise this at the time as I was reviewing from a digital version of the album. As it details in my review, that frenzied beast of a song, the visceral I’m A Man, segues magnificently into the delicate, jazz-tinged intro of The Rooms. It’s a highlight of the album for me.
Earlier this week, my vinyl copy arrived and guess what? Whoever decided upon the final running order breaks that special moment by putting I’m a Man at the end of side one and The Rooms at the beginning of side two. Yes, I know that’s geeky. Yes, I know that the vast, vast majority of people who listen to the album will never know. But these little things matter. It’s clear that a lot of thought and attention has gone into the artwork. It’s just a shame the same application didn’t go into the running order.
Don’t let that put you off. It’s a triumph and a must-listen.