From Safety To Where
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From Safety To Where

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"Splendid E-Zine"

From Safety To Where's second release sees the South Carolina trio continuing their exploration of varying musical styles with one ear set firmly in the '80s UK scene. Indeed, some of the great tunes on Irreversible Trend could've been culled from the charts circa 1985 -- listen to the guitar assault of "Only Now", particularly the wall of played-in-a-tunnel chorus chording, and you'll wonder why there's not an NME cover story to go with it. Likewise, The Cure (circa Faith, perhaps) would be proud of the keyboard work on "Vertical". It's certainly a very familiar soundfield, but the band keeps it fresh throughout the album.

Be warned, if you're coming at this disc from a casual viewpoint, the titular track is misleading. If you pick up the album and expect its first cut to give you the whole story about this band, you'll only get half of it -- sure, it's a straight-ahead agit-rock tune with requisite low-bass tones, but it's also one of the weaker tracks here. The vocals, despite their scratched-out, Bleach-era Kurt Cobain emotiveness, verge on the predictable. Scorching guitar works in its favour, but only just -- it's new wave with a spike, but could be enough to make potential listeners write the band off.

The rest of Irreversible Trend is a glorious stylistic mix. From the opener's howling, new wave punkfest onward, various palettes are explored. One of the most appealing is the sometimes-relaxed, summer's here feel of "Leaving Early", a tune that features some light, delicious picking before blowing into a vocal line that's backed by instrumentation that feels exactly like sun coming out from behind clouds -- punctured only by rifleshot drumming. It's a million miles from punk, classically, but the simplicity of the thing is what makes it work.

The Joy Division reference inherent in the band's title is pretty inescapable. But as luck would have it, there's not much in the way of fanboy copycat action here. And to be honest, they're not quite as mono-moan as the other band, although the same arctic quasi-goth aesthetic that that band made their stock-in-trade is very much in evidence here, too.

Irreversible Trend's Vorticist, Wyndham Lewis-alike cover art is telling. The cover's face is fractured, difficult to reconcile in space; so too is From Safety To Where. There are lots of reference points struggling to rise to the surface here, and thankfully what does coalesce are tunes of no small attraction. They're pissed off, yes, but this is a band that recognizes that detached, glacial calm affects just as much as full-throated screaming. - Luke Martin


"Delusions Of Adequacy"

Blasting their way out of Colombia, S.C. and taking their name straight from a Joy Division song, From Safety to Where has created one of the more interesting albums to arrive in my mailbox in the last few weeks. At times, the band can be quite subtle with hooks coming from all directions and from all instruments. On the other hand, the band is certainly not afraid to let it all hang out and rock out with reckless abandon. This makes for an interesting little combination.

The Joy Division connection is not only evident in the band's name but also makes itself apparent in the chaotic emotion of the songs that make up Irreversible Trend, making the album truly feel like a catharsis of sorts. That emotion is at its rawest in the vocals, which range from carefully layered harmonizing to shrill screams reminiscent of a young Kurt Cobain, crying out the truly poetic and passionate lyrics. The angular guitar work follows that lead, carefully plucking out warm melodies one minute and shredding about in a wall of noise the next minute. Meanwhile, this is one of those rare occasions where the bass guitar stands out as an integral part of what is taking place. The basslines are dark and moody and stand out on their own rather than just plodding along and offering support. And the drum work is certainly worthy of mention as well, with a snare being hit so quickly that at times it sounds like a machine gun. On top of all this is the occasional spattering of keyboards and minimal effects, most evident on more laid-back moments like the instrumental "Vertical." And it all moves rather quickly, like many of the other "post-punk" bands out there today, but a little bit quicker and sharper along the edges.

From Safety to Where has made a great deal of progress over the course of a self-titled debut, a 7" EP, and now this. As far as the key ingredient goes, melody has replaced noise, but not completely. There is much more texture than there used to be in the band's sound, but the raw aggression of a young and chaotic band is still there and plainly visible. Since its creation, the band has been compared to a number of thinking-man's art-punk acts such as Sonic Youth, Mission of Burma, At The Drive-In, Blonde Redhead, Fugazi, and countless others. It is rare that a band can be likened to such bands and actually live up to it. - Eddie


"Cold Comfort Zine"

This sophomore album is quite an eye-opening delight. FSTW can now be placed up with Unwound, Satisfact, Fugazi and Drive Like Jehu as the best post-punk bands of the last decade. Their uncompromisingly jagged (yet strangely sleek) manifestos are fired right into the listener's brain, leaving him with nowhere to run and causing feelings of extreme paranoia. There's a little bit of synth here and there, but only to add icy color, as on "Vertical" and "Static." The main focus remains the snarling, complex guitar and bass work, reminiscient of Lync or a sped-up Swervedriver. The vocals are a bit less paint-peeling than on their first album (but still very Justin Trosper-ish), which is quite a relief, since more lyrics are now audible. The guitars get quiet and chimey every once in a while, which is another relief. In other words, this is the punk album that all people who hate punk rock need to buy. "Leaving Early" is jaw-droppingly epic and urgent, with guitars on an undulating expressway to yr skull.

Unfortunately, Irreversible Trend is only 34 minutes long, but this band has a future of limitless possibilities and hopefully many more albums. And this album will hopefully exterminate the Locust from the face of the earth. - Chris Ramee


"Wilmington Star News"

The second release from the Columbia, S.C. power trio, From Safety to Where, delivers a sonic assault that draws comparison to Joy Division, Mission of Burma and Gang of Four. The 10-song disc has moments of intense rage over tight, syncopated orchestrations.

Irreversible Trend has a hardcore, punk drive, but the screaming found on the first release has tapered a bit to allow for some strong and memorable
melodies to evolve, best heard in songs such as "Leaving Early", "Static" and "Remainder."

The most compelling tracks on the disc are the instrumental, "Monument", and "Vertical." From Safety To Where is an acquired taste, but once the material sinks in and gets under your skin, it is divine. - Rick D'Anjolell


"Deep Fry Bonanza"

On an average week I get ten to fifteen new independent records in the mail. You may think that's nice, but sometimes I feel like it's a chore. Most of the time before you even put a new disc in drive E you can tell exactly what it's going to sound like. Most bands are content to pick a niche, be it thrash, '77 style punk, emo rock, folk, zydeco or whatever else, and simply go through the motions. Ambition is rare, and finding an artist that has actually happened upon an interesting new path is even rarer.

From Safety To Where are certainly musically ambitious; I'd be hard-pressed to find two passages on Irreversible Trend that sound alike. That's not hard to do, though; I've heard my fair share of releases that fall into the "weird for weird's sake" pile and those aren't any more enjoyable than the endless stacks of bandwagon-hoppers. The thing is, though, that From Safety To Where know how to write a song, and they've packed a CD full of pretty solid efforts.

"Only Now" is a particularly rad one; it has one of those slightly off-kilter melodies in the chorus that make me want to sing it with my head turned sharply to the side. "Worksong" is quality stuff too, owing a very large debt to the legendary Drive Like Jehu with its imaginative guitarwork and screamed vocals that you can still hum along with.

And as icing on the cake From Safety To Where have a tonal palette that few bands are using these days. Rather than that ultra-thick, crunchy guitar sound that everyone wants nowadays FSTW operate a bit higher in the register, begging comparisons to bands like Sonic Youth and REM rather than the stock Hot Water Music name-drop this might get if it were produced and engineered a bit differently. A record's guitar sound is a relatively small detail, but From Safety To Where's attention to it is indicative of how they operate as a band.

While Irreversible Trend may not immediately knock you on your ass like Dillinger Four they've packed more interesting and engaging music onto a CD than most bands come up with during their entire lifespan, and they even rock pretty hard once in a while to boot. If you like anything in the giant gap between Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation and Drive Like Jehu's Yank Crime I wouldn't consider this a bad purchase at all. - Daniel


"All Music Guide"

"With a tight, noise-driven sound that hinges on strong bass lines and angular rhythms, From Safety to Where appeared in 2000 as a throwback to the like-minded punk of the early 80's. Bringing to mind artists such as Mission to Burma and Gang of Four, the band's hard-to-find 7" EP was a melodic exercise in sonic experimentalism that garnered many raves. Their second release, 2002's Irreversible Trend, moved the South Carolina trio into a more gothic area. Utilizing keyboards and a doomy sense of atmosphere, the band cut back some of its harsher traits and introduced a few hooks into their thick wall of sound." - Bradley Torreano


"Impact Press"

Math rock meets emo meets noise core meets jazz on this ten track release from three South Carolina musicians. The guitar work is piercing and active, taking the listener on a journey with each new track. Vocally, the songs vary but utilize well-sung vocals, screaming, and a more spoken-style delivery. In every case, it works and acts to enhance the music, the structured chaos, if you will. For the most part, these ten tracks are up-tempo and forward driving, moving you onward with each bass line and drum pound. Because these guys combine so many styles, it's hard to really compare them flatly. However, there are sounds on here reminiscent of such bands as Pilot To Gunner, Pinehurst Kids, Unwound, Fugazi, At The Drive-In, Modest Mouse, Dismemberment Plan, and Joy Division. - Craig Mazer


"Maximum Rock And Roll"

Plenty of the Carolina's energy on the From Safety To Where CD. Some of that drivin' emo found on the Griver LP, though not as hectic as, say, Cornelius or Eurich. Fairly noisy. Always a good thing. Lyrics in the traditional personal political arena. Probably the folks you'll be most happy about letting sleep on your floor this summer. Just a feeling I've got. - Tom Hopkins


"Hit It Or Quit It"

From Safety to Where emit a music like an electrical current – each part charged with a nervous twitching energy. On songs like “Ornaments” and “Guide,” the guitar carries the obtuse, jagged melody, while the bass and drums surge forward, moving with a flailing insistence – carrying the beat in choppy breaks and fills. From Safety to Where add strained, screamed vocals to this, making their music as inviting as a bed full of razor blades. But today’s listeners often conflate music and aural punishment. They will find a painful/pleasing skill in From Safety to Where’s scalding formula. - MD


"Creative Loafing"

From Safety To Where, a trio out of Columbia, South Carolina, are one of those hard emo bands, along the lines of a 33RPM At The Drive In record played at 45RPM, yet they also possess a musical deftness similar to an act like Sleater-Kinney. Absolutely enthralling stuff, even though I can only understand about every fifth word. - Tim Davis


Discography

From Safety To Where CD (1999)
Mapping 7" (2000)
Irreversible Trend CD - Radical Records (2002)
Interference CD - *to be released (2004)

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Bio

From Safety To Where is a trio from Columbia, SC that plays frantic post-punk with unpredictable and stark, ethereal passges. Melodic basslines intertwine with kinetic and searing guitars over top jazz-inflected, acrobatic drumming. The band's 2002 album, Irreversible Trend, charted at number 75 in CMJ's top 100. After touring the east coast and midwest several times, the band finished recording its third full-length, entitled Interference, in the summer of 2004.