To quote a YouTube comment, “if Alex Turner and Lana Del Rey had a child, it would be Alexandra Savior!”
Creepy and a little uncomfortable for respective spouses though this is, it does make a kind of sense. Between the Wes Anderson/Roman Polanski-like aesthetic, the depth, rasp and lofty heights of the vocals and the grit in the bottom of your bag lyrical realism, she’s a melding of the best of both stylistic parents. Alexandra Savior might well be everything I’ve been yearning for musically wrapped in an old Hollywood bundle, Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby with half the doe-eyed innocence and an added dash of the devil. She’s exactly what Lana Del Rey is in my head, but never seems to achieve either live or on record.
To use the usual, somewhat patronising introduction to Savior, she’s Mr. Alex Turner’s new protegée. In reality, she’s an astounding talent who Turner had the good fortune of co-writing a number of songs with, including The Last Shadow Puppets’ ‘Miracle Aligner’ and the track in question, the embittered and beautiful’Mystery Girl’.
Based around a suspected infidelity, she gets straight to the slightly rotten meat of the matter. Savior’s effortless vocal weaves through the kind of politely despairing lines which, despite all of the confident bluster of security, we’d likely find ourselves murmuring in the event of a “mystery girl”s shrouded appearance. Instead of openly confronting him she doubts herself, worried about her “peripheral vision, playing tricks on me” and decrying the daintily martyred “I just wanna be where you are, before you escape”.
This isn’t a case of a dirt-under-the-shoe protagonist though. As the song progresses, the hollow drums become that bit more insistent and the guitar line is plucked a little more aggressively, and her defiance finds its Hitchcockian feet. The “pardon me baby”s diminish to be replaced with the insistent, layered and whirling “Don’t you try to calm me down, don’t you try to calm me down”. What makes this line so perfect is that her voice doesn’t raise once; the anger is so founded and the demand so firm that it’s not necessary.
It’s as you reach this crescendo, as the visuals become more frantic and fractured, as on screen personalities clash and conjoin with those in the music that you realise exactly how astounding she is. A light touch with the impact of a seemingly benevolent siren in a stormy sea, I can’t wait to hear what else she’s got.
Alexandra Savior’s debut album ‘Belladonna of Sadness’ will be released on Columbia Records, April 7th 2017.