Sound: This band has a very 'similar-but-different' sound. You can hear a catchy pop styled hook there, a heavy guitar riff there, it is to me, a meld of the best of rock and pop. (fortunately more rock than pop) At first listen they may seem very mainstream radio rock, along the lines of Saving Abel or 3 Doors Down, but give them a deeper listen and you'll find complicated melody lines, overlapping and complimenting each other. Effects and rhythms that other bands in the same genre might not try.
Generally, this band would probably be in the more 'soft-rock' area of the musical cosmos but songs like 'Down' bring a heavier tune to the album and song's like 'Apology' add a funky up-beat chorus with echo-ey breakdown type verses. // 9
Lyrics: This section is supposed to be a combination of the lyrical rating and the singer's skill. But I think this type of album requires a seperate score for both.
The lyrics are good, but not great. They get what they want to say across well, but generally aren't very deep. This makes the lyrics very easy to relate to. A good example of this is their choice of song names. I understand it shouldn't matter if one or two songs share a name or a similar idea, but many of Safetysuit's song concepts have been done before. There are poetic gems here and there but they are few and not as memorable.
Vocal Skill: 10
Douglas Brown is by far one of the most talented singers I've ever heard. On songs such as 'Find A Way' or 'Stay', he uses the soft slightly gravelly voice on par with the likes Isaac Slade and John Mayer, somewhat like Switchfoot. Then on songs like 'Something I Said' and 'The Moment' pumped up pop rock style vocals to songs like 'Down' or 'Annie' where he proves he can keep up with a good old rock song too. Once again, I urge you to listen to the vocal solo on 'Anywhere But Here'. // 9
Overall Impression: What I love about this band is that they don't try to preach political messages, try to break barriers and essentially they don't try to something they're not. In every song, what they do is write a great melody and make that the best it can.
I do wish the lyrics had bit more of a poetic flair to them rather than anything standard or cliche.
One of my two favorite songs on the album, 'Anywhere But Here' is a wonderful mix between what's great about radio rock style singing (with a little extra), and an extremely full and rich sound of violins, and very well written guitar. The vocal climax is the type that gives you shivers down your spine every listen.
My second favorite (also the first song by them I heard) was what got me hooked on them and essentially, what made me want to take a deeper look at their other songs. 'Annie' is a truly unique song, not in the sense that it uses odd instruments or crazy time signatures but it is a prime example of a great rock song. At first, soft guitars, a beautiful vocal intro and ambient orchestral music leads you to believe that this is like the other 'soft rock' type songs on the record when distorted guitar riffs take you seamlessly from one style to a headbanging chorus. Yet in the midst of all this, in every song, Safetysuit still manages to convey a great melody.
If I ever lost this music I would immediately go to get a different copy. I just love how this band manages to combine the best elements out of my favorite music and artists yet still stays original and non-derivative and their immense skill for just getting a catchy tune stuck in my head. // 9