Jehnny Beth, TO LOVE IS TO LIVE, Album Review
Indie Rock | Post-Punk | Alternative
TO LOVE IS TO LIVE is the first solo studio album of Jehnny Beth; the front woman of the modern punk band Savages.
I fit into the category of people who discovered Jehnny Beth through Savages, and felt that her unique vocal style melded incredibly well with the moody and highly gritty sound brought forth by the remainder of the band. The band’s debut album, 2013’s Silence Yourself, was praised as a trailblazer for punk-rock in the 2010’s, and I would definitely deem this kind of praise to be justified. The album carried a tonne of thought-provoking subject matter (which for the most part, felt like a well-needed rallying cry for the feminist community).
That being said, Savages set themselves up with the potential to become a truly iconic band, so it was a shame to realise, that after only two albums, it seems that we may not be blessed with another Savages album any time soon.
All is not lost however, as 2020 marks the creation of Jehnny Beth’s solo project. This album ultimately became one that, for one reason or another, I wanted to see its complete release before delving into it. As a result, I was going into this completely oblivious to any stylistic changes from, or similarities to Savages. I was both excited and nervous to see, what TO LOVE IS TO LIVE had to offer.
From the very get-go of listening to the album, it felt very clear that Jehnny Beth wanted to try out a few new things, with many of the tracks (especially those in the earlier half) taking a far softer approach that what you would expect from your typical Savages piece. I would even go as far to say that some of the tracks on here veer on the realm of chamber-pop.
And while, as mentioned earlier, I thought that Beth’s vocal style fit well with the style of Savages, she has somewhat managed to adapt this into the regular softer melodies found on this record. And allowing this really places her vocals as one of the focal points of this new record, and helped me focus on just how beautiful they sounded a lot of the time.
And while there are a fair few things to rave about when writing about this album, it quite often feels very rough-around the edges, and comes across as an album that could’ve possibly been given some more time and/or effort. Lyrically, I think this album has some room for improvement unfortunately.
And while I appreciate the big stylistic jump, when you mix the softer tracks with the likes of the more Savages-esque tracks such as “Im The Man”, and “How Could You?” (which serves as an ideal collaboration between Jehnny Beth and IDLES frontman Joe Talbot), you get an album that feels just as stylistically misshapen as the likes of Bring Me The Horizons early 2019 project amo. On top of this, the very idea of having slightly more punk-like tracks is going to take my attention off the softer-sounding tracks as a Savages fan.
As a result, I hope that with any future solo effort from Jehnny Beth can really establish a set style, and create something that feels truly all her own, but I remain faithful that this will be more than possible.
Nevertheless, I still feel that TO LOVE IS TO LIVE is a solid effort indeed, and carries that gritty atmosphere that really helps Beth command the attention of the listener.
Favourite Tracks: I’m The Man | How Could You | French Countryside
Least Favourite Track: Flower