splendid > reviews > 11/6/2001
Les Savy Fav
Les Savy Fav
Go Forth

Format Reviewed: CD

Soundclip: "Disco Drive"

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In a world of constantly changing musical mediums and mutating bands, it's reassuring to encounter consistency. Applying their tried and tested formula for arty, recondite rock, Les Savy Fav has produced an album that's guaranteed to restore the faith of those bemoaning rock's current state of affairs. Go Forth picks up where 1999's The Cat and the Cobra left off, but it doesn't concern itself with major alterations to the band's sound, or with reconditioning current Fav fans for a world of limp rock. Les Savy Fav is quite conscious of what you want, and they keenly deliver the goods on their latest batch of solid tunes.

As the opener, "Tragic Monsters", begins, spiraling guitar and cavernous vocals gather the band's collective composure, presumably shrugging off the uncontrollable, chaotic episodes of the past. Instead, the Fav Four opts for refined bursts of noise, creating defined melodic structures and intricate instrumental play, showing signs of a band that has practiced and toured its way through the best and worst of times. Vocalist Tim Harrington's rhyme schemes have the intelligence of a well-schooled brain, consistently mixing pop cultural analysis with self-reflective psychoanalysis. But hold on a second here -- if you're wondering whether Les Savy Fav has given up on its sinewy, unruly-sounding past, you've jumped the gun. Hamilton isn't afraid to expose his poor table-side manners; he still rants and raves himself into a hysterical mess, but he can collect himself at a moment's notice, shifting dramatically back into a straight shooting, Cotillion-trained chevalier. Have the years of rockdom and touring taken a toll on Harrington and his bandmates, or has it simply made them a much stronger and more cohesive unit?

As we delve deeper into the Brooklyn-based four-piece's third full length, bass fanatics will enjoy Syd Butler's jacked-up, low-end lines, which pave a likeable rhythmic path through several of the album's best tunes. Lanky guitars and odd-timed drumming ruthlessly drag you from this level trail, bruising any belief that the Fav has a shred of innocence left within its collective self. As tracks like "Disco Drive" and "Adopduction" pound your speakers with instinctual anger and passive-aggressive comeliness, it becomes quite clear that the Fav is as happy kicking out methodical high-brow wonders as is it rockin' the party (say, who rocks the party anyway?) with straightforward, fist-pumping anthems. This dichotomy of reckless rage and consternating control may be the ultimate embodiment of the band's progressive ethos - a suave combination that has been with Les Savy Fav since its debut release, 3/5. If you've heard anything by The Fav, you'll be quite at home with Go Forth.

Les Savy Fav graciously ends the album with a depressing tribute, entitled "Bloom on Demand", which steers through brooding guitars and milky synths, creating an aural shroud of despair. Everything eventually succumbs to (sampled) crackling flames, symbolically suggesting that the band has released its own internal fires. Now it's your turn to ponder your listening experience; yes, you've bared your own emotional evolution, but you know that while everyone and everything goes through changes, a thread of consistency endures. -- Andrew Magilow



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