This song sounds like Arcade Fire if Arcade Fire were cool
The first thing you notice about Safeplace is their almost vehement desire to sound like no other punk band on the face of the planet. From the noisy thrashing that opens the EP on “To the Native and the Ghost” to the reverb-soaked folk licks on the title track, Safeplace are exploring new musical horizons with an energy intense enough to burn a stack of No Idea releases. But oddly enough, the aggressiveness with which the band is trying to ditch the confines of punk only makes Little Terror sound more like a punk album. Being pissed off about playing bar chords isn’t all that different in spirit from being pissed off at your dad, and it’s clear that these dudes are still angry about something.
But what separates Safeplace from other post-“punk kid” musical projects is their refusal to shy away from their roots. When most people finish their infatuation with punk music, they start a shoegaze band or some shit. Naturally, those bands fall flat, because ripping off MBV is no more creative than ripping off Against Me!. Safeplace, on the other hand, are far less concerned with what’s trendy and far more concerned with developing their craft. Sure, the bassline to “Tribes” could’ve been lifted straight from A Flight and a Crash; sure, some of the noodling on “Curtains” sounds a little “wave-like”; but you can’t fault a band for doing what they know, especially if that’s what makes their music cohesive and digestible. Shit, to call Little Terror cohesive and digestible would be a grave disservice – these songs are actually pretty damn interesting.
For those of you who were familiar with Rain Over Battle, Safeplace proves to be an impressive step forward. Wales seems a lot more comfortable in his own skin as a songwriter, and even where the band’s influences are overt, they never stray into derivative territory. On top of that, the fat that bogged down ROB’s These Rocks in Our Bodies has been all but trimmed away. Sure, Safeplace stumble through a couple transitions and could have fleshed some of the parts out a bit more, but there’s not a whole lot of filler on Little Terror. Besides, bands who are genuinely trying to do something innovative can expect to stumble a fair bit in the beginning. That’s where Safeplace is at right now, but if this EP is any indication, they won’t be there for long.