Album Review: Breathe Carolina’s “Savages”

Athena Bender

Breathe Carolina doesn’t disappoint with their new album, proving that EDM, synthesizers and a bit of classy screaming will always be fun, if a bit predictable. “Savages” doesn’t fall into the trap of numbing sameness, though. Sometimes new albums need a bit of predictability to ease listeners into a more gradual change in sound.

This seems to be Breathe Carolina’s pinnacle album, in which they’re trying to go with the times and add some new spice. “Savages” follows in the footsteps of Breathe Carolina’s former albums with exciting hooks and an overdose of electronica, but this album also mixes in enough dance pop to freshen up their music. 

One thing “Savages” has going for it is the diversity of sound within the album itself, something not altogether common in punk electronica rock bands. Head-bopping “Bury Me” opens the album with a flourish. The vocals, low and meant to get your heart racing, fit with the theme of the album. It’s always interesting to look up what band members say about their own albums, and David Schmitt says, of “Savages,” that they “want people to […] feel like they are a part of the band when they are done listening to it.”

This statement may seem totally normal or out there, depending on what type of fan you are, but Breathe Carolina has definitely achieved this with this album. The lyrics, build-ups and breakdowns are all flawlessly choreographed to work off each other, creating an all-encompassing sound that really drags you in. Regardless of whether you actually spend your Friday nights like Breathe Carolina’s lyrics suggest, this album is worth a listen.

Synthpop with some post-hardcore rock isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but songs like “Chasing Hearts” and “Shots Fired” add a more genuine note to the album. The title song, “Savages,” is a clear standout of the album with lyrics reminiscent of Ke$ha and a party song beat. The album closes with “Mistakes,” which you might think would be the final sincere push but as it turns out is the ultimate party anthem, topping even “Savages.”      

Schmitt, on lead vocals, shines on this album, especially because you can actually hear his real voice at times. The vocals from 2009’s “Hello Fascination” might as well have been sung by a computer (don’t get me wrong though, that album will always hold a special place in my heart). Breathe Carolina wouldn’t be Breathe Carolina without auto-tune and layers of editing, but it’s still much more subtle in “Savages” and leads to a more coherent and noteworthy album on the whole.  

If you’re a fan of the edgier songs of Metro Station or miss the old Pierce the Veil, check out “Savages.” It’s that perfect summer album – at first you’re just inclined to dance and hum along, but then before you know it you’ve memorized all the lyrics and have started calling your friends savages.