Review: Les Savy Fav – Root For Ruin

Les Savy Fav, then. It’s been 15 years since this hugely influential yet often overlooked art-rock/post-hardcore band formed, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that they may now, like other similarly-aged bands, be phoning in their records. I had the same initial concern, especially since 2007’s Let’s Stay Friends saw the band’s greatest work to date, embellishing their hardcore roots with a growing maturity they had discovered in the 6 year hiatus since Go Forth in 2001. Surely things must have gone down-hill since then?

The band get straight to work in dismissing these claims, with frontman Tim Harrington screaming “we’ve still got our appetite” on album opener, Appetites. I’m unsure as to whether this track is a statement of intent or a wakeup call to themselves, but it’s hugely exciting, driving and vicious and really sets the tone for the rest of the album. The guitar work by Seth Jabour and Andrew Reuland on this track is simply mesmerising. The intelligence in writing such complimentary yet challenging guitar hooks is evident, and it seems as though their apparent one-upmanship is the driving force behind the band, each colourful layer adding hugely to the overall asthetic of the track. This continues into the jackhammer punch that is Dirty Knails, a track that reminds me of Future of the Left – fitting, really, since that band count Les Savy Fav as one of their prime influences.