Safety - A Season of Bad Dreams
Record Label: Audible Diversion Group/Community Records
Release Date: August 12, 2008
One night, I had a bad dream. All I could see was darkness in front of me. Light began peeking out in the distance, a thick layer of fog covering the air like a thick quilted blanket. The light didn't seem to be a car's headlights, as it grew slowly, eventually thinning back out into the omnipresent black. I hear the sound of a person; a mumble, as if they are struggling. The light spins back around and stops on me. A light house, perhaps? I am standing on a lifeboat, in the middle of the ocean... and what do I see behind me? Tom Higgenson, preparing to throw me to the sharks? No, it was Jon Cook from Forever the Sickest Kids. I sighed a breath of relief, until I look down at my hands, which are covered in feathers. No pants? A beak for a nose? Oh shit. I'm a duck.
I wake up. Needless to say, it was a terrible nightmare that I would never want to relive. With that in mind, a season of bad dreams would be awful. An entire season? Nuts to that, right?!
Be like me, and reconsider that option after you feast your ears on this delectable pop-punk nuggest by Florida band, Safety. Their debut, five-track EP, A Season of Bad Dreams is nothing but lesbian clouds and red licorice toothbrushes -- things we all dream about when we're happy. Not sugar plums or Joey Cape being your dad or anything. Not that I, um... dream about those things. Moving on.
An acoustic guitar introduces the record, sort of giving off an impression that this is going to zig-zag between Jack Johnson and Pennywise. Hold your horses though, my children -- things get shaken up like a whiplash car accident once everything kicks into high gear. Ben Matras' blasts of drumatic fury (yeah I just made that up) tear across the horizon like a rabbit fleeing from a coyote. Like Maverick said, "My friends..." No, wait -- wrong Maverick: "I've got the need -- the need for speed!" (Cue couch jumping).
"The Blizzard of the Century" blows the roof off the joint, racing through its three-minute run time to provide an ample single choice. "Time's Up" and "Negative Work" are back-to-back bullets of sheer intesity, masterfully choreographed by the three-tone blast of Andy Diaz's nasally-vocals and Grayum Vickers' slowly-churning bass guitar. "Through the Window" is a stop-and-go diddy that has a certain spark to it -- frankly, Diaz is a charming vocalist; he's got a raw quality to his style and sounds like he's just having a blast singing these tunes that reflect all the questions we have within this life (faith, love, happiness -- ya know, the norm). "Don't believe in anyone / Or you'll end up like me," he sings on the closer. "Remember, pull out all the splinters / Cut all the bullshit / And fucking forget her ... I'll fall through the cracks of the earth." For such an aggressive sound, the band is rather reassuring in the sense that it's perfectly fine to question things as long as you're happy with yourself and your choices made.
"Like Hemlock" is a tad generic, with no real saving grace to keep it from blending in -- thankfully it's the record's quickest track. For a band giving their music away for absolutely nothing, you could do a hell of a lot worse. This is -- simply put -- solid, effortless punk rock that's a blast to crank up. Seven songs, 17-minutes, hardly any complaints -- what's not to like?
A season of bad dreams. Yeah. That's no fun. But, A Season of Bad Dreams? Au contraire, mon cerie -- that's better than ending up in a rowboat as a duck any day.