Album Review: Safe To Say – Hiding Games EP

From the offset if you were to ask me how to describe Safe To Say, I would describe them as a glorious hybrid of some of the best emerging alt rock acts in recent years; Brand New, Citizen, Balance & Composure etc. That’s not to say ‘Hiding Games’ is merely an imitation of those bands. If anything, it’s on par with them and then some. Once you’ve finished hearing ‘Hiding Games’, you’ll be left with a fuzzy feeling of excitement in your stomach and pleading for more.

Safe To Say execute the quiet-loud-louder dynamic brilliantly throughout. From the opening whispers on ‘Summer Sickness’ that erupt in a thunderous fashion with winding guitars to ‘Lull (Heaven Knows)’ with its soft guitars, harmonious male-female vocals and breezy drum work. Safe To Say keep it varied and carefully paced throughout.

‘Bracelets’ is a raucous, distorted blast of alt-rock that frankly makes you want to lose your shit the moment tribal-like drums come in. Add some playful “wooh ooh ooh”’s and a soothing outro and you have a contender for standout track. ‘When I’m Not Home’ proves to be a plucky emo rock number circa 2006; pure aggression, spiralling guitars and bombastic drums is what is on offer. The ebb and flow of loud and quiet elements is intriguing as the bridge sees the Canadian quartet settle in a comfortable intimate, acoustic setting before hitting back.

Next the vibrant ‘Zoey’ showcases a more “poppy” side with its upbeat tempo and jangly guitars. It’s a well-timed change to the controlled chaos that Safe To Say have offered so far. ‘Zoey’ proves to be a bright and catchy number that subtly retains the aggression on show elsewhere.

Following the aforementioned ‘Lull (Heaven Knows)’ comes ‘Near Enough’. Opening with Brad Garci’s crying “Hey!” before settling into a bass-driven verse with atmospheric guitar strums giving way to a brief, rapturous chorus. After swaying back and forth between louder and quiet parts, the conclusion sees the quartet end the EP with thriving drum work and a children’s choir sending the track home on a high.

Over the course of six songs, Safe To Say have left a lasting impression. Whilst not entirely original at times, ‘Hiding Games’ is certainly favourable. Throughout there’s subtle depth and a strong cohesiveness, both musically and lyrically.

First impressions go a long way and with a collection of concise and varied alt rock songs, it’s erm… safe to say that Safe To Say have made their mark. Don’t be surprised if this a band you’ll be hearing a lot more of over the next 12 months. On this evidence, ‘Hiding Games’ backs up any hype coming their way.

4.5/5

‘Hiding Games’ EP by Safe To Say is out now on SideOneDummy.

Safe To Say links: Facebook|Twitter|Bandcamp

Words by Sean Reid (@SeanReid86)

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