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Beware of Safety

Leaves/Scars

(Mylene Sheath; US: 12 Jul 2011; UK: import)

For their third record, instrumental rockers Beware of Safety opted to write and record the album from scratch. There were no preconceived ideas of what the collection would be, no rough sketches for songs; the band—now a five-piece—gathered in the studio and worked together to create the sounds that make up Leaves/Scars. That approach gives this music a vital charge of immediacy. The songs feel fresh here, not overworked or over-thought. The band plays with the same power they’ve shown on previous records, but here there’s a new fluidity to their sound that works nicely. Songs like the 11-minute closer “Memorial Day” build on intricate layers of guitar and rumbling bass, and the textures the band creates are often striking, particularly when they hold onto their restraint. The band can certainly overpower with its high-volume metal freakouts—the noise of “Kevin Spacey” is particularly striking since it includes human voices in the fray—but the subtle roads to those noisy breaks show Leaves/Scars at its most compelling. The kind of metal-touched instrumental rock Beware of Safety deals in isn’t new to the scene, and as good as they are at volume they get less distinct the louder they play on their new record. The achievement here is how they got together and weaved together the intricate parts of these songs, and they’d do well to continue to shift their focus in that direction.

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Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.


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