This four-piece out of Halifax took me by total surprise. I went to check out a show featuring some out-of-town friends of mine, and In-Flight Safety provided the crowd with some sweet, sweet opening magic. Despite my drunken inability to actually grab an album off the guys before the end of the night (and remember their name. Sorry), I got my hands on a copy of "We Are an Empire, my Dear". And boy, am I glad I did. These guys are def going to be one of those bands I will get really stuck up about having seen play an early show in a small venue after they (inevitably) get huge.
So, I guess, first I need to say thanks to Carlos for the introduction. Yeah, thanks!!!
Now, onto the album. Ahhh, guitar-driven Indie Rock... where have you been hiding for the last year? I feel like I've spent the last 12 months subsisting on electro-pop of varying degrees, neo-folk artists and experimental groups. Relatively speaking, In-Flight Safety is back to the basics. And it's so damn refreshing. This is a generation of old is new again, so it makes sense that musically it'd start to come full-circle.
We are an Empire, My Dear is an album that I want to start harmonizing along with, long before I know what the lyrics actually are (which is probably one part annoying, one part hilarious if you're lucky enough to catch me doing it). It's an album absolutely overflowing with potential singles, and yet enough slower and more introspective pieces to create a good balance. One of my absolute favourites (of the former category) is the track Torches. This song draws you in with gentle tones and soft lyrics that slowly build into a driving guitar riff and poppy harmonies. It's just so damn pretty!
My absolute favourite, however, has to be Model Homes. This piece is gut-wrenchingly emotional. It's such a solid track, that I think an acoustic version might just go and put a tear in this cynic's eye*. It's a little ditty on how the ideal can be just empty and useless symbols that do nobody no good (If you've built a model home/just burn it to the ground.../It's no home/), backed with rich major melodies replete with guitars, piano, and an epic Editors-esque riff to finish off the track. I guess there's some power behind realizing what things in life are actually important. I've quite seriously had it on repeat for the last two days. If you're in the mood for shivers, this track is for you.
And of course, my introduction, Big White Elephant. What else can I say, but 80's synth pop sounds, dancability and the kind of sound Coldplay could have had if they hadn't pussied out on us.
All in all, this album is grandiose, melodic, sweeping, emotional and kind of epic. Without the need for irony, self-abasement, or ostentatious bullshit. I can see these guys following in the footsteps of fellow Halifaxers, The Trews; catchy enough sound to generate a reasonable following (which I don't doubt they're lacking on the East Coast already), appealing enough to get radio play, and original enough that snobby music geeks *cough* will probably be cool with having their albums amongst their collection. Come back to Edmonton soon, guys!
Pick up a copy of their album HERE, or grab a copy off of iTunes! I assure you, I've barely scratched the surface of awesome on this album with these previews... you're going to want to hear the rest.
*I cried during the remake of "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas". I'm not that much of a hard-ass.