Folk pop duo Safe Hands released its new album Highs & Lows Tuesday. The pairing’s new record is an interesting offering. That is due in large part to its musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly. In direct connection to the arrangements is their sequencing. This aspect will be discussed a little later. Its production rounds out its most important elements and will be discussed a little later, too. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation. All things considered, they make the album worth hearing at least occasionally.
Highs & Lows is a unique presentation from folk pop duo Safe Hands. It is a record that is worth hearing every now and then. That is de in part to the album’s musical arrangements. The arrangements in question at times lend themselves to comparisons to works from James Taylor, and at others to the more neo-folk sounds of Delta Rae. That is evidenced right from the album’s outset. As the album proceeds through its 31-minute run time, it also offers influences from some well-known female pop singers as is evidenced through the vocals of Caitlin Carey, one half of the duo. The sound and style of her delivery is very reminiscent of so many female vocalists. That is not meant in a negative fashion, either. There are even some emo-style arrangements featured in this record that will appeal to audiences of the noted genre. That appeal, along with the appeal generated through the record’s folk and pop style works adds even more to the album’s presentation. The whole thing closes out with a distinct 80s pop-esque keyboard-driven work that really changes things up. As if the diversity in the arrangement’s styles is not enough, the simple approach to the arrangements — mostly with vocals and guitar and the occasional piano line – adds to the appeal. It proves the old adage that less is and can be more in many cases. The arrangements that are featured in this record are just a portion of what Safe Hands’ target audiences will appreciate about this record. The sequencing of those arrangements adds to their appeal and that of the album.
The sequencing of Safe Hands’ new album is important to note because of the subtle changes in the songs’ moods that are audible. The record starts out on a happy, upbeat note, but gradually becomes more melancholic as it progresses. The change starts to happen early in the album’s run in ‘A Paixao’ and continues on through ‘Love You Give Away.’ ‘To Have and Hold’ changes the album’s mood again, turning it more upbeat again, but that change is only temporary as ‘Empty House’ (which is another familiar song about a broken relationship) turns the album in a more melancholic direction again. It carries on through the album’s finale, ‘Wide Awake’ leaving listeners with a somewhat heavy feeling. Simply put, the sequencing ensures a deep emotional impact on listeners. Of course the subtle mood changes will require listeners to be in a specific mindset when they listen to its whole. To that end, it is not a record that will appeal all the time to listeners, but will do so when the noted listeners are in the specified mood. This does not make the record a failure by any means. It just means that the album is a presentation that is meant to be heard at best occasionally.
While the musical arrangement featured in Safe Hands’ new album and their related sequencing collectively does much to make the album appealing for audiences, they are just a portion of what makes it appealing for the duo’s noted listeners. The record’s production rounds out its most important elements. As already noted, the arrangements featured in this album are largely simple and minimalist. They are composed of two singers and a pair of guitars. There is the addition of a piano line at times. The most advanced that the arrangements get comes in the finale, with its more 80s pop-infused sound and style. Considering how simple most of the album’s arrangements are, it would have been easy to just phone it in, but it is clear that a lot of attention was paid to the most minute of details in each song. The harmonies presented by Carey and her Safe Hands partner Mikey Adams are so rich and full even in their simple approaches. The balance of those vocals with the mostly simple instrumentation gives each song its own richness and depth. Even when things get even remotely complex (again noting the record’s finale here), everything is balanced just as well. The way that the drum pad (ye, that is an electronic drum) couples with the subtle keyboard line forms a solid musical foundation for the arrangement. Carey and Adams’ vocal delivery style, with their layering and light auto tuning, adds even more to the song’s ability to entertain and engage listeners. All things considered here, it is clear that some time and effort was put into Highs & Lows’ production. The result was positive in its own right. When it is considered along with the album’s arrangements and their sequencing, the whole of the elements makes the album in whole a work that will appeal widely to listeners, even with just the occasional listen.
Safe Hands’ new album Highs & Lows is a presentation that will assuredly appeal to a wide range of listeners. Its arrangements exhibit elements of neo-folk just as much as they do modern pop. There is even an 80s pop style work added to the mix for good measure. The sequencing of those arrangements does its own share to keep listeners engaged and entertained from the start to end of the 11-song record. The production of the noted arrangements puts the finishing touch to their presentation. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album. All things considered, audiences will find the album appealing even hearing it only occasionally. Highs & Lows is available now.
More information on Safe Hands’ new single and album is available along with all of the duo’s latest news at http://www.facebook.com/safehandsmusic.
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