How is it that I seem so busy but have nothing to do? It’s crazy to me that we are already midway through December even though August feels like just weeks ago. Regardless, I apologize to all you readers. I have been slacking lately. Call it seasonal depression, call it the Covid blues, whatever you want to call it, let’s just chalk it up to a lack of motivation but time to jump back in. That lack of motivation is typically a sign of my crippling anxiety and depression creeping back in to take over my life and, as you know if you’ve been reading my ramblings for some time, the only way to fix this is some new music. Dear Safe Hands, please work your magic and help snap me out of this mood!
As soon as “Genuine” took over my speakers, a smile crept across my face. This opening track doesn’t hold back and instantly puts you in a whole new world with Safe Hands as the perfect soundtrack. The song is sweet and lovely. It’s full of heart and emotion and, within the first couple of seconds, I was completely sold on this band and this album and couldn’t wait to continue this journey.
“Honestly” instantly gave me Dashboard Confessional and The Forecast vibes. This one was an instant favorite of mine. I can’t stress the amount of beauty and heart that this duo is able to put into each track. It’s seriously just something that you have to hear to understand and this track is a perfect example. “Some Kind Of Destiny (feat. Nikki Hayes)” continues with that sense of beauty but replaced the more indie-soft rock vibe with something a little more poppy. I struggle to call this track mainstream but there’s something very catchy and infectious about this track that has it feeling a bit more top-40 than the previous two songs.
The more acoustic feeling indie-rock vibe comes back for “a paixao (feat. Luke Rainsford)”. This is the perfect cozy winter track and it made me really want some snow (yes, I’m crazy, I’m aware). There’s just a sense of warmth that comes with this song which makes you just pause, sit back, and breathe. It’s just what we all need this year. Just as I was getting completely lost in the coziness of “a paixao”, “Old Stones” shifted the mood instantly to something a bit more somber. There’s just something a bit darker about this track than the previous ones which makes it stand out. Dynamic strings are heard in the background as the vocals soar above all instrumentation in the perfect way. Although I would still consider this track quiet like the other songs, there’s a sense of power in Old Stones” that refuses to be ignored.
“Touch” has an absolutely gorgeous piano part in it that instantly caught my ear. It’s played with intention and heart much like the vocals throughout this album. It’s clear that both Mikey Adams and Caitlin Carey (the two members of Safe Hands) are true musicians. They respect the notes and the tone and that’s something that you can hear loud and clear in this song. Although this song isn’t my usual jam, it was an instant favorite of mine just because of the musicianship that is played out so beautifully.
The more poppy sound that Safe Hands does so perfectly comes back in for “Love You Give Away”. This song seemed to fly by. I was completely lost in this track because it was another one of those cozy and warm songs that just makes you sit back and breathe while letting the words and music wash over you. The transition into “To Have And Hold (feat. Tohm Napier)” is somehow subtle yet striking. “To Have And Hold” is such a sweet song that continues with the cozy vibe but there’s something a bit more upbeat and optimistic about this track that had me listening to it a couple of times before moving on.
“Empty House” reminded me instantly of “Some Kind of Destiny”. There’s this sense of mass appeal in this track that makes it almost radio-ready but it’s still very much Safe Hands which I don’t think the radio is ready for yet. There’s almost a county twang in this track that I didn’t catch onto during the previous tracks Maybe it was never there and just a new element added on to this song or maybe I was blind. Regardless, this little twang in this track is perfect.
The spoken word element of “Mount Vernon” is absolutely my cup of tea. It’s a bit Hotel Books without me obsessively crying through it. Again, and I can not stress this enough, one thing that Safe Hands does better than most bands I would try to compare them to is the emotion. You can feel it in the words. Not just the way the words are presented, but also by the way they are strung together and chosen.
“Wide Awake (feat. Nick Thompson)” ends this eleven-song album on a high note. I feel like I’ve mentioned a couple of times through this review that this band is almost to the point where I could hear their music on the radio but just never seem to get there. This track is that track that will get them there. It’s pop music for the sad kids. It’s indie rock for the masses while still being distinctively Safe Hands. The almost 80’s electronic instrumentation behind the vocals enhances the words in the perfect way and makes it a song that is next to impossible to not sway back and forth to.
If you’ve been feeling more and more alone as the days go on during this pandemic and are struggling to come to terms with the fact that it’s already winter, I highly suggest you send some time with Safe Hands. They will be that shoulder you need to lean on and that friend you need to talk to. They will bring so much warmth and care into your house, headphones, or whatever you listen to music with that you will forget that you are alone and will forget what a weird and not-so-great year it has been.
My Favorite Track(s): “Honestly”; “Touch”; “To Have and Hold”
For Fans Of: Candles; Wine; Acoustic Feelings
Daydream-ability: 6 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Artie laid on my desk right next to my computer; Autumn slept upstairs
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 6 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 7 out of 10
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