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Album Review: Les Savy Fav - Root for Ruin


(Frenchkiss Records)

There's no such thing as a bad Les Savy Fav album. It's simply a matter of which are great, and which are better. At the very least, Root for Ruin is a great album, but does it rank among the band's best?

When listening to any Les Savy Fav song, it may seem like they're just another act in the post-punk revival scene, but they've always distinguished themselves by being way more punk than post. Their live show generally involves the band in some sort of wild costumes while lead singer Tim Harrington goes even wilder. Would it even be possible for Harrington's live energy to be captured on a record? Probably not, but certain studio tricks can fake it. The early work from the Fav accurately duplicate this, but in recent years, they've been leaning just a bit more restrained.

Holding a balance between their aggressive energy and a more mainstream post-punk pop sound has gotten the band no shortage of critical praise. On this record, Les Savy Fav have added just a bit of edge to their calmed down songs--a little more distortion, a little more sloppiness, and a bit more feeling of energy. There's also no shortage of aggressive stuff on here as well. There might be a bit of a backlash to the band embracing their wilder side on songs that may seem ill-fitting, but it's that sort of risk that makes Root for Ruin one of the best.

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