The American Scene – Safe For Now: Album Review

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It’s rather rare that a band who is often classified as indie rock catches my attention and keeps it held enough for me to care, but there is something about The American Scene who hit the scene (pardon my pun) in 2011 with their unmistakible and well-written debut album, By Way Of Introduction.

You could be forgiven for thinking The American Scene were abducted by aliens and replaced with replicas hell-bent on taking indie rock to new heights, not content with releasing something they’ve already released. While it’s highly unlikely aliens had anything to do with this album, it’s undeniably one of the most impressive things I have heard in a long time and sonically different in comparison to any of The American Scene’s earlier material.

During my first listen and then subsequent listens my mind was racing drawing comparisons to that of so many bands Safe For Now reminds me of from; As Cities Burn to Brand New, Driver Friendly, Blink 182 and definitely a hefty dose of Pennsylvania rockers Days Away.

If you were a fan of the debut then Safe For Now might take a listen or two for you to adjust to The American Scene’s new-found polished sound. Safe For Now sees the band veering away from the almost-pop-rock sound they debuted on earlier releases instead going for a more melodic and slow-burning album.

Track, “Shape Shifter” sees vocalist Matthew Vincent channeling his inner Jesse Lacey sounding like a song that wouldn’t sound out of place on one of Brand New’s first two albums. Without-a-doubt one of the best tracks on the album, with Vincent promulgating heartfelt lyrics, “I thought I told you, I’d only break your heart if I had too” in perfect synchronicity with the band.

Acoustic number, “Untitled” is as raw as this album gets. Matthew Vincent absolutely shines in this song proving he is one of few talented vocalists the overcrowded genre who can actually sing, this is the kind of song that gives you the chills when you first listen to it and then you listen to it again and it’s still able to instil that same feeling over and over again, beautiful.

Lyrically the album sounds like it touches on subjects like; loss, love, friendship, depression and being alone (hardly original subjects to sing about) but the way in which Vincent delivers them makes the topics sound brutally honest and certainly not just another indie-rock record about breaking up with your girlfriend and writing a bunch of hate-filled blame songs. That statement along pretty much sums up how great this album is, it takes a bunch of overused concepts and turns them into something amazing.

The album ends on a sombre note with self-titled track, “Safe For Now” taking the album out on a high. Subtle tamborine, sincere guitar chords and a chorus that will no doubt will be passionately screamed by fans when played live. I kind of expected this song to end on a more louder, energy bursting note because of the way the song subtly builds-up, but it remains constrained and I think it works well for an ending track on an album of this calibre.

Safe For Now is a masterpiece and no doubt an album teenagers in 15 years time will still be playing. The direction The American Scene are heading in is certainly the right one and considering this is only their second full-length they’ve definitely got more gas in the tank to produce a few more quality releases over the next few years, until then this album will remain in my playlist for a very long time.

Rating: 10 out of 10.