Written by Joel Funk
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…I wrote for a website called Fuck Your Scenes. The reviews that I wrote were terrible, and I can admit that without much hesitation. That website was my first real attempt at doing this thing, and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to write for them and get my name out there a little bit. One of the last reviews I wrote for that website was for a split from Seaway and a band called Safe To Say. I had been singing the praises of Seaway for a little while at that point, but it was safe to say that Safe To Say was a band that I had never heard of before that release.
In that review, I compared them to the likes of Citizen and Such Gold. The former of those two still reigns true to me, but with the release of their SideOneDummy debut ‘Hiding Games,’ Safe To Say have staked their claim to indie rock in the vein of Brand New. The music feels a little all over the place, but it feels like that was done with purpose. These songs show the range of musicianship for each member of the band, and upon further dissection, show that Safe To Say is capable of creating a record that finds cohesion amongst the surface level disjointedness.
The slow crawl into a full on explosion that makes up the first minute and a half of “Summer Sickness” is the perfect kick-off to the six songs that make up ‘Hiding Games.’ Before hearing this song, I hadn’t listened to Safe To Say since the split with Seaway, so hearing them come back into my life with such ferocity felt like the world smacking me in the back of the head and saying “Really? This is what you’ve been ignoring?” to which I have to shamefully say “Yes.”
Things took a very serious turn for me on “When I’m Not Here.” There is a desperation and a yelp to the vocals that caught me right away and the fact that everything else is hitting you just as hard all at once makes the track feel like the real tour de force of ‘Hiding Games’ and, more importantly, Safe To Say’s career. It’s an emotionally draining song, but it’s well worth the listen. If you don’t listen to any other song from this record, at least listen to this one. I guarantee that it’ll make you feel something.
On the complete opposite of the sonic spectrum, we’ve got the song “Zoey.” In an interview with Punktastic, vocalist Brad Garcia calls it a radio-friendly rock song. I agree, but it feels like something else to me. It feels like the kind of sugary, melodramatic pop rock that exploded right before the neon era of the myspace band. I don’t know how many of you are familiar with A Kidnap In Color, but this song has their name written all over it. I love that. I love that immediately after being rung out like an emotionally drenched sponge, there’s a song that sounds like the kind of pop rock I grew up on. It’s an interesting, probably even jarring change of pace, but it works. There’s no denying that.
“Near Enough” is where the Brand New comparison kicks in for me. This sounds like a track that was lost between ‘The Devil & God’ and ‘Daisy.’ This is what I want new Brand New to sound like, and if it doesn’t, well I’m happy that Jamie Coletta and her group of cohorts at SideOneDummy reminded me that this band existed. This song is truly the full package. There is angst drenched in emotion, there is a choir of children singing at one point, this is a grand exit into a future that you’re going to want to be a part of. This is a huge step in the right direction for this band.
If nothing else, I can honestly say that ‘Hiding Games’ has me paying attention to the future of Safe To Say. The fact that they can make something that feels so disjointed on the surface work together to create something as stunning as ‘Hiding Games’ is a statement all it’s own. Furthermore, it goes to show that SideOneDummy really knows how to pick their bands. I’ve come to trust their judgement as much as I trust my own. Safe To Say are going to be one of those bands that kids talk about in reverie; a Brand New for a new generation. It is one hundred percent safe to say that there will be no more hiding games for these guys in the near future.