#308 les savy fav – clear spirits

I wasn’t all that sure about the latest Les Savy Fav album (their fifth) at first, to be honest, in spite of being quite a fan of their work over the years since falling hard for The Cat and the Cobra (1999). But that’s until I eventually got around to a proper listen to Root for Ruin the whole way through and was dumbstruck by the raw, tempestuous brilliance of “Clear Spirits”. Here is a very inspired choice to close the album with – a post-punk anthem that features each of the band members operating at their peak condition, driven by a stormy jet stream of Seth Jabour and Andrew Reuland’s dauntless guitars that threaten to swallow every shred of cynicism in its wake. And as ever, “Clear Spirits” is propped up by the wiry urgency of Tim Harrington’s expressive vocals, a mix of dark poignancy and unbridled enthusiasm that inhabits the erratic moods of someone darting in and out of painfully absurd life situations – hell yes, a phenomenal song fit for a reprobate’s résumé. – keith.

mp3: les savy fav – clear spirits

Root for Ruin is out now on Frenchkiss Records.


2 responses to “#308 les savy fav – clear spirits

  1. hi keith,
    i was googling the lyrics to “clear spirits” and i came across your post. i couldn’t agree with you more. this is a totally radical gem buried at the bottom of the record. from the stuttered drum beat to the iron-maiden-like guitar harmonies, this song is nuts. i have a ticket to see them here in Berlin in about 3 weeks and i’m really hoping to see them play this live. Have you seen it performed live? Also, have you found the lyrics to this written somewhere? i understand most but not all of them. cheers,

  2. my favorite track off the album too. i think it’s an excellent closer. much like adam above, i stumbled upon this post in search of lyrics. there’s some really great imagery of egyptian pharaohs, new york shaking and collapsing on itself, and of course a healthy dose of tim’s fascination with death. here’s my attempt at the lyrics:

    clear spirits, i need no greater proof
    the proof of me is you
    i’m swallowing the evidence — it’s the only thing to do

    everything they did to build this pyramid
    all the souls who died you could see ’em in the pharaoh’s eyes
    with a far away gaze written on his face
    mistakes — some day they’ll make him live with that

    i am dead and i am buried
    and my body is erupting(?)
    and the worms they are all feasting on my face and on my fingers
    and you laugh as my epitaph gets worn down by the water
    gets worn down by the wind of sons and daughters
    as to lies within (?)

    the tremors started gently but then the city shakes
    first we lost grand central soon the rest fell in its wake
    the bridge and tunnels all collapsed
    it took us days to build a raft
    from metro cars and deli bands(?)
    we portish(?) up to hackensack

    central park seems like a dream to me now

    then repeat the first verse, then this cool refrain:

    there’s a brass band playin while i’m
    selling my soul to satan
    hands thrown up in the air
    cuz we, like, just don’t care

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