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SafetySuit

When we last saw SafetySuit, the Nashville-based band was supporting 2008’s Life Left To Go and hit single “Stay,” whichshot to No. 1 onthevoter. generated VH1 Top 20 Countdown. Spotlighted by VH1 as a band “You Oughta Know,” the grouptoured endlessly, playing over200 showsand sellingmore than 500,000 singles along the way.

They’re raising the stakes with THESE TIMES (Universal Republic), a scintillating hookfest of arena-ready rock anthems,offeringunequivocalproof thatthe group has the goods to break wide open. Working with producers Howard Benson,Espionage (the ...read more

When we last saw SafetySuit, the Nashville-based band was supporting 2008’s Life Left To Go and hit single “Stay,” whichshot to No. 1 onthevoter. generated VH1 Top 20 Countdown. Spotlighted by VH1 as a band “You Oughta Know,” the grouptoured endlessly, playing over200 showsand sellingmore than 500,000 singles along the way.

They’re raising the stakes with THESE TIMES (Universal Republic), a scintillating hookfest of arena-ready rock anthems,offeringunequivocalproof thatthe group has the goods to break wide open. Working with producers Howard Benson,Espionage (the New York-basedNorwegianteam of Espen Lindand Amund Bjørklund) and OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, thesefour skilled and remarkably self-assuredmusicians havecooked up a strikingly melodic,sharply drawn, viscerally immediatealbum filled with songs that stick in the head and heart.

For a young band, SafetySuit—singer/guitarist Doug Brown, drummer Tate Cunningham, bassist Jeremy Henshaw andguitarist DaveGarofolo—has aremarkable sense of songwriter savvy. “I do the writing,” Brown confirms, “but until we getDave, Jeremy and Tate’s headsaround thesongs, they’rejust songs, they’re not SafetySuit songs. When they get hold ofthem, they become ours, and that’s what makes usspecial—thefour of us, not just oneguy..

After cutting a half an album’s worth of material in Nashville last spring, the band had a shocking collective realization—neither the songnortheperformances, they concluded, met their lofty standards. “We’d been going nonstop for three years,and were burned out,” saysBrown.“We just had toget away from it for a little bit, live life and gain some perspective. So weactually threw away the hard drivescontaining thetracks we’d done andstarted all over again..

It didn’t take long for something fresh to manifest itself. Brown headed to New York to toss around ideas with the guys fromEspionage,whowere ridinghigh after co-writing and producing Train’s massive hit, “Hey Soul Sister.” “They played me areally interestingchordprogression,” Doug recalls, “and Istarted spontaneously singing along with it, [sings] /Take me backto yesterday/I swear it on yourlife.’They saw that I was in a zone, and they said,‘Go into this room and just be by yourselffor a while.’ A half hour later, I came out andsaid,‘What if we came around at the end and went [sings], ‘Wecan get aroundthis, get around this’?” They were like, ‘OK, let’s startrecording.’ Itwas really that quick. If you catch an emotional moment inthewriting process, one sentence, one word, can fire off an entiresong in amatter of minutes. The best songs practicallywrite themselves. It’s all abouttapping into a feeling and letting those emotions takeover..

That song, “Get Around This,” set the bar sky-high for Brown and his bandmates, and in the following months they challengedthemselvestohitconsistently on the rarefied level Brown and Espionage had established. Brown went straight from New Yorkto Bahrain to play somemilitaryshowswith the band around the Fourth of July holiday last year, During that trip, totally out ofhis element, he wrote a slew of songs,severalof which woundup on the album.

In September, he got together with a talented friend, OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, in the latter’s Colorado studio, whichyielded thealbum’slead single,“Let Go.” “I love that song,” says Doug, “because it’s such a departure for us. Ryan isobviously a very pop-mindedproducer, soI said, ‘Let’s have funwith it; let’s do something that’s not the norm.’ It turned outgreat, and it kills live. It’s very interactive andpeople getit right away..

A second get-together with Espionage resulted in “Things to Say,” while the band self-produced “Staring at It,” a fist-pumperwith anincendiarychorus,and “Life in the Pain.” They cut five songs with Benson in L.A. this March: “Never Stop,” “OneTime,” “Believe,” “Stranger(Say It)” andthe poignant“These Times,” which functions as the album’s thematic centerpiece.

“It was written out of a social need,” Brown says of this powerful, zeitgeist-capturing anthem. “As a band, we were talking alot aboutthesongs on therecord, and obviously, a lot of songs are gonna be about relationships, love and loss; that’s themost common emotionpeoplehave. But as we werelooking at the track, we felt like something was missing: what the pulseof the nation is right now. When westartedthinking and talking about that,‘These Times’ sprang out of that. The chorus goes,‘Sitting alone here in my bed/Waiting for an answerI don’tknow that I’ll get/I cannot stand to look inthe mirror I’m failing.’You just get tired of being on the short end of the stick; I think a lotofpeople feel that way. There’s a lot of people out therewhowould kill to just have a job so they can provide for their families. It’s tough,man—it’s tough for people, and that sucks.But we didn’t want to leave itat that, so we wrote, ‘These times are hard/But they will pass,’ andthat’simportant to remindpeople of. We’ve made it out of bad times before, andwe’ll make it out again..

At the other extreme is the intensely personal “Never Stop,” an unguarded expression of romantic devotion. “The best songsride thelinebetweenvulnerability and too much information, where you take it to the maximum amount of vulnerabilitybefore you start weirdingpeopleout,” Brown asserts,punctuating the statement with a laugh. “I think ‘Never Stop’ does that,and I think any woman who’s withsomeone theylove wants to hear him say,‘I’m never gonna get used to you.’.

Despite the fact that the band interacted with three producers, each possessing a particular approach, the album comesacross as athoroughlyunifiedpiece of work. “What I loved about all of them is that they were all like, ‘Where do you want totake it and how can we helpyou to getthere?’” Brownsays of Benson, Espionage and Tedder. “But you’ve gotta go into itknowing where you want it to go in the firstplace..

This hard-hitting yet life-embracing album strikingly displays SafetySuit’s singular sound and style as well as the clarity of theband’svision.That visionwas sufficiently present on the first album and the hundreds of performances that followed it tobring them a loyal,enthusiasticfanbase—one that isabout to undergo exponential growth. SafetySuit is an extremelyconfident, distinctly American unit righton the brink ofestablishing itself as a bandthat matters.

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Similar Bands: Lifehouse, Parachute, OneRepublic

LPs
These Times
01/03/2012

2.8
22 Votes
Life Left To Go
2008

3.7
45 Votes
EPs
Hallelujah
08/28/2012

4
1 Votes

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