Album Review: Safe To Say – Down In The Dark

When Safe To Say’s last release, ‘Hiding Games’ dropped in my inbox last year, it was met with curiosity. It turned out to be one of the strongest EPs of 2015 as the Toronto group stepped out of their pop punk comfort zone and embraced an alt rock side. Ultimately, it made Safe To Say one of the most exciting (yet intriguing) bands to watch in 2016.

So now ‘Down In The Dark’ arrives with anticipation in the hope they can make good on the potential laid down last time round. However, the end result somewhat lacks from the expectations. Stylistically, the Toronto quartet have taken the aforementioned foundation and organically evolved it. Sonically atmospheric, it ebbs and flows on your emotions shadowing over the band’s raw delivery.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries?list=PLTApr45G3y8PTs38CTz1KYCJRjuJy7Pnd&w=100&h=315]

Fuzz-laden cuts ‘Only Rain’ and ‘Afterglow’ are served up to familiarise old listeners, as well as bringing urgency to the record. Nevertheless, it’s a lyrical maturity which underpins throughout, coming to the forefront on songs such as the blissful ‘Tangerine’ and the sombre ‘Hireath’. Together they show an openness to slow things down. The latter displays compassion as you achingly hold to every word from Brad Garcia’s mouth; “I wish I hadn’t left the way that I did.”

Although Safe To Say provides a favourable collection, they struggle to establish an identity. An inevitable Brand New comparison rears its head more times than it should. ‘From The Top’, ‘Ultra Blue’ and ‘Your Favourite Dream’ embrace an impassioned, quiet-loud-louder dynamic yet it’s a required trait for Safe To Say’s maturity to come through.

Admittedly, ‘Down In The Dark’ doesn’t quite match the expectations in producing a breakthrough record I had hoped for. However, Safe To Say are still in their infancy. ‘DITD’ ultimately sees a band exploring themselves as musicians and songwriters, showing a willingness to subtly challenge themselves, yet they fall short of solidifying an identity of their own. Safe To Say continue to be an exciting work in progress.

3.5/5

‘Down In The Dark’ by Safe To Say is out now on SideOneDummy.

Safe To Say links: Facebook|Twitter|Bandcamp

Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)

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