I've enjoyed Les Savy Fav for many years, but I'm happy to report their fifth and latest album, Root For Ruin, may just be their best yet. It presents a new sound for the band, merging their noisy beginnings with more recent leanings towards dance rock. Root For Ruin is a concise album with enough variety to still keep my attention after a week of nonstop repeated play.
Track three, Sleepless In Silver Lake, was the first song to enamor me with the album. It was a clear win within the opening forty five seconds, a catchy single with a solid dance beat and a near perfect bass line. In a delicious twist of irony, the lyrics mock L.A. hipsters, though Les Savy Fav are arguably N.Y.C. hipster darlings. Of course, I use the term hipster with utmost endearment and personal pride. Williamsburg versus Sliver Lake dance off? Or, am I'm taking that too far?
Nonetheless, I also love noise, and Root For Ruin is far from a mindless pop album. There's plenty of intriguingly strident sounds, especially in the song Dirty Knails, and Excess Energies features gang shouts of "someone kick me in the teeth." Vocalist Tim Harrington takes a particularly staccato approach on many of the songs, frequently bordering on talking more than singing. Stylistically it's reminiscent of the punk roots occasionally eluded to in the lyrics.
Accordingly, one unifying theme of the album is a heavy emphasis on rhythm. Intentionally simplistic and heavy, Drums dominate the recording production, and I like it. It provides a firm and basic framework for other elements such as guitar to subtly play. The chord progressions are highly enjoyable, but not the first thing you notice, and I appreciate them all the more for that.
I also thoroughly enjoy the general mood of the album. These songs are restless and wistful, songs about being young written by those who feel they're growing old, or as Harrington puts it after lyrics describing life at seventeen and twenty one "here I slip past thirty five." Intriguingly, it may be their seasoned experience that allows a band like Les Savy Fav to write an album like this, deftly balancing abstract creativity with tuneful hooks.
Yeah, this is a good album for where I'm at right now. So if you're feeling a little stuck and lost in young adulthood, if you like dancing and yelling, or if you've ever liked Les Savy Fav, definitely give their latest effort, Root For Ruin, a listen.