Les Savy Fav – Root for Ruin Les Savy Fav – Root for Ruin

Les Savy Fav - Root For Ruin

Les Savy Fav - Root For Ruin

Les Savy Fav is a band. Did you know that? No one would blame you if you didn’t.

Because when you see them, you see Tim Harrington.

Is he performance art? Peter Gabriel for the Now Wave? Some great Scaramuccia of Brooklyn by way of RISD where he once convinced some very talented friends to be his Gang of Four agit-pop backing?

On Root for Ruin the question is moot.

This one isn’t about him.

Sure, he’s there. Of course, he is. But the first time in a good ten years he’s just the singer in a band. A good one. A really, really, really good one that’s been shifting and storming through the past fifteen years almost entirely without peer. They’ve had contemporaries. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Liars. Black Dice. Lifter Puller. But where those bands grew comfortable in their derivatives or pothead expansion (read, boring) Les Savy Fav worked their good goddamnedest at refining the pomp and creativity that first captured me at Coney Island High back in 1998.

Yeah, it’s been a while and I can’t say I’ve enjoyed the whole of the ride but Root for Ruin is worth the going. It’s not as manic as 3/5 (my personal favorite) or The Cat and the Cobra. It doesn’t half-assed disco dance all over your face like Go Forth. It certainly isn’t as desperate to prove itself as Let’s Stay Friends was but there’s no way to get over writer’s block like blowing your load on a Camus jackal with some well-stationed guest appearances.

It’s a fucking rock record. It has fast songs. It has tender passages (lots of them, actually which I am surprised how much I appreciate). It moves seamlessly through its initial statement of purpose (“WE’VE STILL GOT OUR APPETITE!”) to its quizzical conclusion (“just we like just don’t care”) without ever pulling one over on the audience. It’s never too smart. Never too abrasive. Never more than it needs to be.

It’s a record you can put on and sing along to without looking like an asshole and that, my friends, is a rare thing indeed.

Pics from Les Savy Fav @ Echoplex May 2010

Les Savy Fav - Root for Ruin, reviewed by Charles on 2010-08-16T10:24:30-07:00 rating 4.5 out of 5

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