“We still got our appetite! We still got our appetite!” Tim
Harrington scream-sings on the first track on Root for Ruin, as if to remind you that Les Savy Fav are still
hungry, still striving, still not taking your cheers and applause for granted.
This is the group’s fifth full-length, and it extends a period of such
sustained quality and critical esteem that they’re liable to be taken for
granted even by their most ardent fans.
The band doesn’t accept that fate lightly, deploying eleven
full-throttle art-punk songs marked by Harrington’s smart(-ass) lyrics and
shaped by the spidery interplay between Seth Jabour and Andrew Reuland’s
guitars. Sure, “Appetites” and epic closer “Clear Spirits” probably sound
better live, with a crowd singing and fists pumping along to their shouted
choruses, but on record, Les Savy Fav generates a frenzied energy that pushes
things along at a breakneck speed. Even when they slow down, the band still
packs a punch: “Sleepless in Silver Lake” waxes sentimental about a night in L.A., striking a peculiar
balance between sincerity and irony.
DOWNLOAD: “Appetites,” “Sleepless in Silver
Lake” STEPHEN M. DEUSNER