Safe As Houses - How It Feels To Be Erased Released March 6th, 2007
I've seen a millions bands open for shows that are just like Safe As Houses. They embody that locally road-tested sound that more than likely came from years of contact with every Drive-Thru release that came down the pipe and an intent ear to alternative-rock radio. They bridge the gap between "not there yet" and "capable of having an impressive regional following". These bands aren't remarkable by many means, but they are such a great surrogates for glimpses at bands in their early, "indie" stage who have since moved on into the collective circle jerks around any recycled cliche they can get their hands on. The latter sect are now headliners and far from what Safe As Houses applaudingly exercise on How It Feels To Be Erased. There's something about this band's cool and collected string of indie-rock songs that gives you a sunnier disposition and keener eye on whats going on under the radar.
I can't help feeling this band's sound will be hit or miss with most, though. It oft comes too close to the painfully familiar and rarely makes up for it after falling into the shallows. Its in the moments (or songs in "In All Honesty"s case) elsewhere that Houses shines. The band doesn't go out on a limb to throw just a bunch of guitar hooks at you only to clusterfuck themselves into race towards even more unoriginality. No. They keep it straightforward and admirably so; in the vein of Further Seems Forever one could say. In the process they play with a few ideas that'll keep your interest but its the brevity of the EP that'll have you coming back to it -- no need to commit and it ends right when it needs to. The album is quite durable in the vocal department as well. Too bad Lou's commanding, and largely indistinctive, voice couldn't be accompanied by some "Dear Editor" wit -- which would have complimented the band's crafty rock style quite well. Alas, we're left with, "Yet I'll scream out this song/Until my lungs fill with blood/Until my throat closes up/Yeah I know who I am" on "I Don't Believe in Beatles". These discernably commonplace lyrics may turn off some, but the Fueled By Ramen generation will eat it right up.
All you really need to do is just listen. There are some bands that take the stronger elements of Routine-Rock and come away victors, others go down the wrong path and fade into obscurity with their bad Myspace layouts. Safe As Houses definitely have a great thing going for them -- their unabashedly smart instrumentation and way of staying pertinent to the scene without being anyone but themselves. If you're not into them, well check out their ska counterpart. See what I did there?
There drummer Mike is a great guy. We were going to record our EP with him as producer and engineer, but then we didn't have the money. Safe As Houses is the awesome though, and they've got quite a bit of promise.