Comedy Minus One Records

SAVAK : "Cut-Ups" Lp

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Side A
Sick Of War
Like Gary Wilson Said
I Wanna Exist
Christo's Peers (Soon We'll Be Floating)
Natural Light

Side B
They Are Bones
Loma Prieta
I Don't Wanna Be Defended
Keys To The City
I Left America

Music isn’t so easy these days. Everyone’s doing it. They’re combing the annals. They’re hawking it from all the platforms. Kids in bedrooms are hammering out digital release strategies for new bands. Communications are being marinated in marketing speak; words are being harvested from dense SEO reports. Surely this is not the great DIY utopia we were promised. Is it still possible to feel righteous in a world where the parameters of aesthetics and worth have been whittled down to a thumb drive?

Fortunately SAVAK is back and brandishing a new LP that’s calmly saying, ‘yes…yes that is still possible.’

Titled Cut-Ups, this new SAVAK record consists of 10 immaculate nuggets of primo, left-field rock'n'roll, of the sort you may (or may not) associate with a band comprising former and current members of Obits, The Make-Up, Holy Fuck, The Cops, Nation of Ulysses, Edsel and Enon.

That’s a heavy smorgasbord. So how are the results? As laudable as one would expect given the pedigree. Cut-Ups is as kaleidoscopic, ambitious and as curious a record as you could hope for.

Like the debut SAVAK LP, Best of Luck in Future Endeavors, there’s that instant thing – instant hooks all over, instant choruses – but not cheap instant like the noodles. The flavors on this record have a long finish, with a satisfyingly wide palate. There are pristine multi-part harmonies and skronky jazz bits, as well as odd, subtle experiments with Joe Meek-y sound design. There’s that undeniable propulsive groove that many of these guys have become synonymous with. There’s even a song about the reclusive, experimental musician Gary Wilson. At least I think it’s about him. It could possibly be about English Snooker legend Gary Wilson (unlikely), or just some not-famous Gary Wilson. There are also healthy smatterings of garage rock, ‘60s jangle, jazz and psych. The devil is in the details on SAVAK records and there are many, many details on Cut-Ups.

There's no denying that SAVAK is pissed on this record too. These guys are cut up and in barbed and furious mettle, but this is definitely not your usual terse and angry punk-rock record. SAVAK will not be performing these songs shirtless, or windmilling their fists and bulging their carotids as they kick out these jams (well, maybe they will a little actually). They've mastered the art of coloring and nuancing their musical communications in deeper ways with lighter, more complex textures. There’s an uplifting, philosophical bent to the heavy subjects tackled here.

For me Cut-Ups is like the moment in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest when Chief Bromden throws the water fountain through the sanitarium window and runs to his freedom across the field. You know it's a heavy vibe but you feel good taking it in. This record can raise you like that.

—James Finlay
Nottingham, England


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