4 out of 5
Label: Comedy Minus One
Produced by: Geoff Sanoff, SAVAK
While I was kinda hating The Strokes when the first made it big – I worked at a music store where a dude was promoting them hard, and we had to play their album noooon stop – I understood the appeal of the music: it was catchy, and the group’s overall sound was identifiable enough to stick out. But the bandwagon of throwback rock pop which they rode (and made larger) encouraged many other bands to try their hands at something similar, resulting in some good here-and-then-gone singles; catchy while you hear it, but lacking some further “It” quality to make it memorable.
SAVAK are not The Strokes, but you’ll hear some of that style in the 10 tight pop-rock tracks on Best of Luck in Future Endeavors, alongside some Bowie-esque glam and boogie, some Guided By Voices workman-like rock, and some other offshoots of guitar pop. This is me naming obvious stuff; the Discogs blurb mentions another handful of sounds-likes, and the original label copy talks up even more, making sure to also check the band members’ previous band bonafides. What you’re maybe not hearing from all these similarities is any SAVAK persona that emerges on its own.
From a less talented group – they can swing from psych freakouts to punky pummeling to radio friendly harmonies easily, always in sync – and a less dialed in set of tracks, each one of which is an undeniable earworm, inspiring instant toe-tapping and landing on a familiar riff or rhythm, calling them sort of faceless would be more of a problem, but SAVAK’s oversight brings it all under one well-sequenced roof; I don’t know if I could pick SAVAK out of a lineup, but the music they make together does belong together, which is a promising quality, and makes the album supremely easy to listen to time and again.