The American Scene - Safe For Now
Release Date: August 7, 2012
Record Label: Pure Noise Records
I’m already bummed out by the comparisons to The Dangerous Summer and they haven’t even really started yet. As much as people love to compare things to other things, The American Scene have made a record with Safe For Now that is damn good, and I don't want people to readily associate them with another act. That’s how bands get stuck in ruts, that’s how bands ends up getting ignored. And if there’s one quality that Safe For Now exhibits, it's the quality of be-quiet-and-turn-up-the-speakers-and-listen-to-me.
Vocalist Matt Vincent has this sort of singing style that makes it sound like everything he is saying is important, so you listen carefully. “Just Say It,” the opener and one of the most upbeat songs on the record, is one of the highlights. There’s something about the way Vincent murmurs, “Are you afraid of the end? / Are you afraid of the end of everything? / I’m not afraid of the end,” that dangles you on a hook. It’s a quality that I’ve noticed in Tigers Jaw and Seahaven – both of which aren’t bad comparisons to The American Scene, and the latter of which I feel is much more accurate than the comparisons to The Dangerous Summer or Daybreaker – and it’s a quality that has made those bands adored by the indie community. Vincent displays the same irresistible style on “Hungry Hands,” this time delivering a refrain of “I could feel you pulling, so slow and so steady, away from me.”
Those two tracks show off the faster-paced side of The American Scene, but the band shines brightest when it slows down. Jangly guitars star on “When You’re Undone,” while the somber “Untitled” is one of the more intimate tracks, featuring only Vincent with an acoustic guitar. The middle section of Safe For Now drags on a bit (sans the awesome “Shape Shifter”), but “Used To You” returns the intensity into the mix while offering up a glimmer of hope in the lyricism. While most of the songs carry a sober message, “Used To You” is about wanting to fight for something you love. “If you try, I think you might find something here that’s worth the fight,” Vincent sings in between cries of “You make falling out of love sound so easy.” This track is sure to become a fan favorite, and it provides an interesting bridge into brooding, building closer “Safe For Now.” While Vincent’s vocals steal most of the spotlight throughout the record, the musicianship takes over in the outro of the closing track, providing a supremely emotional finish.
Safe For Now is one of the better indie-rock records to come out this year. This isn’t a surprise at this point, though – the group’s first LP, By Way of Introduction, gave away the fact that this band was something special. It’s easy to say The American Scene has lived up to expectations, and it’s unfair that the band will be so quickly compared to such a wide variety of bands in this community. With Safe For Now, The American Scene has done this style of indie-rock as well or better than most of its peers, and it deserves the recognition.
Absolutely love this record and a well written review! I would have rated it a little higher but that's just me, doesn't seem on the same level as the forever came calling album. Showed maturity and progress as a band and is a great listen all the way through, definitely my summer album.
The only thing I don't like about this is that you start off in the very beginning saying how you hate that this band is being compared to other bands, specifically The Dangerous Summer, but then compare them to different artists. Sounds too me you just don't like the crowds initial comparison and think yours is more correct. EVEN THOUGH, I completely agree with you and think this review does them great justice.
I love these guys so much, on their own merits. This is my AOTY so far.
I need to dedicate some more time to this album but I've just been swamped with a ton new advance music (I know, such a bad problem to have haha). I did like this album on my first few listens however.
Thomas, I am really glad you encouraged the listener to put the TDS comparison out of their mind when experiencing this album. It really is its own unique sound, and it's awesome. Plus, the guitars are better than TDS