Safe as Houses is delicate in approach—dreamy synth-pop is perhaps the genre—and almost shockingly physical in its lyrics. The first line on the album: “There’s blood between my legs / And in the grass outside your house I came.” Zac Pennington’s singing is brittle, broken, and intense, his voice lending a harsh side to the often pretty music, while remaining pretty in its own ugly way. The songs build, in a Radiohead/Sigur Rós sort of way, though less epic, and they build stories of pain, suicide, doomed pregnancies, death by train, abuse, and savagery. These tales are drawn across bodies, within a musical cloak of hazy beauty. Music box, bedtime melodies meet with expressions of horror in uneasy, mysteriously attractive ways, sometimes meeting in a blast that makes the song seem like it will disappear into abstraction. But it never does: this is pop music. Dark, challenging, ugly, pretty pop music.
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong online. Please consider a donation to support our work as an independent publisher devoted to the arts and humanities. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where advertising no longer covers our costs. We need your help to keep PopMatters publishing. Thank you.
// Sound Affects
"Natalie Hemby's Puxico is a standout debut from a songwriter who has been behind the scenes for over a decade.READ the article