Flavors Of Paradise by Savak

Release date: March 1, 2024
Label: Peculiar Works / Ernest Jenning Record Co.

Trusted operators, Savak have been working on this thing of theirs for time and they know what they are doing. Flavors of Paradise is album number six, and they’d all done other bands before. Over a run like that most bands, if they even last that long, work out who they are, get good at it for a bit and then find time for a crisis of identity. Savak give every impression of having arrived at this point with minimum drama just by steadily working on their songs.

Neither wild party or dark night of the soul, Savak are a carefree Saturday afternoon of a band. Browsing the market for second hand books and records, getting overpriced coffee, maybe hit the park in a gorilla costume. Self contained and easy going they connect to a strand of classicism without ever getting trapped in it. Drawing from punk, power pop, indie rock and beyond their sound is bright, lean and literary. Unselfconscious in a way many bands struggle to be the songs are somehow comfortable without being predictable or overworked.   

 

Opening with a pair of sunny sunshine tunes they set an upbeat mood, ‘Let The Sunlight In’ offering a mysterious pattern of years to sing along with. The taut melodic bounce of ‘Paid Disappearance’ has a pleasing Brix period Fall vibe to it, while ‘New New Age’ is this album’s flag bearer for their habit of sounding like Lee Ranaldo fronting the Flamin’ Groovies. ‘Leash Biter’ also has echoes of Lee but not the guitar abandon. It does feature dogs on phones though. Meanwhile ‘Living Will’ fails to blossom as you might hope but does throw in some enjoyably chaotic guitar towards the end.

Being a two headed band, fronted by guitar/vocalists Sohrab Habibion and Michael Jaworski, helps explains the occasional passing reminder of The Go-Betweens. Something which steps into the spotlight on the brisk strum of ‘What Is It Worth’ where the usual smart but light touch lyricism also gets noticeably more bookish. “The anthology of dreams/by my unmade bed/like an inkblot test” is pretty nicely done though.   

The sound maybe gets a little tougher in the record’s later stages, before ending on the dreamier ‘Attribution’. It doesn’t scream or rage. Savak are punk in the largely feelgood and melodic way The Modern Lovers or The Feelies were. It’s rock ‘n’ roll. A context in which the idea of competence can seem belittling, if not outright pejorative but Flavors of Paradise reaps the rewards of their commitment to the craft.  

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