With last year’s ‘By Way of Introduction,’ Berkeley, California’s The American Scene set the standard high with their confident brand of indie pop-rock. It was consistent yet lacked variation and at times it was too easy to compare the quartet to bands like The Dangerous Summer and The Starting Line.
On ‘Safe For Now’ TAS have the tricky task of topping it. However its clear from the start that this band has grown into a mature indie rock band that thrives on emotive lyrics, warmly delivered by Matthew Vincent. Early on tracks like ‘Blood Orange’ and ‘Hungry Hands’ show the bands more sincere and structured approach yet subtly keep the bands pop sensibilities with soaring choruses.
Elsewhere ‘When You’re Undone’ and ‘Shape Shifter’ contain a darker edge which is fittingly combined with cathartic lyrics; on ‘Shape Shifter’ Vincent sings “I heard you don’t believe in God anymore, I heard you fell out of love”.
‘The View From Here’ is an album highlight with its pinging guitar notes, intense vocal delivery and haunting lyrics. It has a slight emo edge and some may even compare it to Brand New. Nevertheless it s the aforementioned combination that draws you in and makes you realise how much this band has progressed since ‘By Way of Introduction’.
For the later stages of ‘Safe For Now,’ TAS to an extent return to their pop-rock roots; ‘Used to You’ is an upbeat, bass-driven number that is a welcomed reminder of where they’ve come from and where they now are.
Although ‘Safe For Now’ isn’t quite as instant as its predecessor, given time both new and old listeners will embrace it as the bands sincere lyrical approach has been neatly combined with a honest matureness, which gives them a much needed varied sound. Whilst it’s not all-round perfect, the bands progression is coming along well and their potential will continue to grow with this release.
‘Safe For Now’ by The American Scene is available now on Pure Noise Records.
Words by Sean Reid (@SeanReid86)