For Your Comfort and Safety
US: 11 Sep 2009
Car Stereo Wars’ debut begins indebted to Bends-era Radiohead. By track four, though, the focus shifts. “Come to Nothing” is a coffeehouse take on Fiona Apple, and “Alone” meets Beach House and ‘70s rock at the middle to satisfying results. “Low Rise” even flirts with funkiness, as best it can anyway. The problem with all of this is, thanks to Alyssa Doe’s breathy vocals and a chameleon band, it’s hard to get a read on Car Stereo Wars and feel anything for them in return. Listening to For Your Comfort and Safety in the background is fine enough, but attempts to focus on the stuff doesn’t bring much better results.
The band sounds earnest and tight to be sure, but For Your Comfort and Safety finds Car Stereo Wars lacking an identity all its own. Not a single member seems eager to leave an impression, so listening to this album gives the strange sensation of each member trying to be a bit player. Perhaps that comes as a harsh way of saying the group does nothing particularly new, but it’s not to say the band is bad at what it is doing. It’s just not particularly gripping. The band sounds much too stuck in the late ‘90s; look no further than the Ray of Light Madonna-styled “Dearheart (Remix)” (and late-album highlight) for proof of Car Stereo Wars’ audacious adherence to things well in the past.