Les Savy Fav's fifth studio album finds the veteran Brooklyn quintet further channeling the gonzo energy of their live show, and with winning results. The only thing missing is a shirtless Tim Harrington blitzing your speakers wearing little more than a cold-cream mask and a shower cap.
Which is to say that the band's carnal immediacy remains intact and is even given some space to breathe by producer/engineer Chris Zane (who previously achieved a similar smoky one-take vibe on the Walkmen's You & Me). Les Savy Fav have always defined visceral, and the interplay between Syd Butler's saturated bass and the dueling leads of Harrington's gruff vocals and Seth Jabour's propulsively melodic guitar lines makes for some anthemic moments (à la standout single "Let's Get Out of Here").
As far as party albums go, on the other hand, this one's pretty dark. Themes of alienation, self-depreciation, and illicit and unrequited lust abound ("Lips N' Stuff" and "High and Unhinged"), shit burns everywhere, cities are vacuous shells ("Sleepless in Silverlake"), and salvation is ambiguous. What's certain is that Les Savy Fav sound giddy to be on the fringes. Why else would they be rooting for ruin?