Indie rockers Safe as Houses stop being safe

Safe as Houses

Indie rockers Safe as Houses are getting experimental in all the right ways in their new single, “Lucky Lucky,” which arrives in the heart of a spring season that was, thus far, missing a track of its surreal, multidimensional nature. Safe as Houses have been circling the outside of the mainstream for a hot minute now, but “Lucky Lucky” sees them giving up some of their rougher edges and exchanging them for a streamlined style of songwriting that is just as bold and anti-conformist as their personality always has been – though now it’s a bit more marketable in this newly polished format.

When we isolate them away from the other parts in the track, the guitars are undeniably the most action-packed element in “Lucky Lucky,” even though they have none of the excess or grandiosity that comes standard in the riffs we hear out of this band’s contemporaries. They’re a guiding light for the jittery vocal, which follows the string arrangement as closely as possible when scaling the gigantic harmony that we find in the chorus. The bassline sets an elegant stage up for the guitars and then allows their fragile fretwork to do the rest of the heavy lifting.

To the chagrin of audiophiles having a love affair with low-end tonality this season, the bass doesn’t have any of the textured tones that the rest of the instruments in this song do, but it still plays an important role in creating the rhythm in the track. The drums let us down here on more than one occurrence – mostly due to the poor mixing of the percussive parts – but the bass swoops in and resurrects the grooves before they’re forever lost on us after the opening stanza. Normally the sudden substitution would annoy me, but it works pretty well in “Lucky Lucky.”

One issue that I do have with this single relates to the lyrics, which devolve into predictability in the introductory verses and never ascend back to the level of expectation that I have when it comes to reviewing a Safe as Houses track. The hook isn’t the sharpest that I’ve heard all year long, and the negative space left over from the mellow lyricism leaves a rather bad taste in casual listens of “Lucky Lucky.” It’s not the end of the world for this band, and it’s definitely something that I haven’t experienced in the other material that they included on their latest album.

They’re still growing into their own sound, but with all things taken into consideration, I think that Lucky Lucky and its title track are a positive step forward for Safe as Houses that could help their brand get a little more exposure outside of their insular underground scene. Their American counterparts are giving them a run for their money with their experimental endeavors, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that everything this band is doing right now is being eclipsed by their southern neighbors. They’ve got a lot of work left to do, but rockers with an ear for minimalist melodies would be foolish to ignore this stimulating new release from the group.

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