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Music Review: In-Flight Safety – We Are An Empire, My Dear

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Music has the power to elevate and to push us out the front door and through hard times because it knows we must endure. The bass, the drums, the guitar, the vocals, the keys, the passion, the fucking sounds — they know we must survive and carry on. Art exists so that there can be more art.

In the case of In-Flight Safety, such a warm shove out into the snow is what I feel I owe them thanks for.

Spiritually stagnant, drained, and down as I was to start 2009, this Halifax based four piece came out of seclusion in Nova Scotia with a plan and an album that seemed destined to open my curtains and let the light in. It took several spins, but it’s safe to say that my home is now flooded with a gentle glow.

Oh sure, it probably wasn’t just the music. A combination of love, wine, film, and literature also helped the push to get off of my ass and get going. But I merrily credit In-Flight Safety’s We Are An Empire, My Dear at least in part.

We Are An Empire, My Dear is a cry for unity, a demand for human touch, an “auditory call to arms” that works to fuse our inner senses with our feet and our hands. Bold, earthy, stirring, and crammed with heart and soul, this is music for our times and music for all times. Snippets of Coldplay, U2, and many of the other great anthemic bands of our time resonate with each melody, yet In-Flight Safety has an audible gust all their own.

John Mullane’s vocals and guitars, Daniel Ledwell’s keys and guitars, Glen Nicholson’s drums, and Brad Goodsell’s Adam Clayton-inspired bass combine for true sonic enchantment. Each member concocts melodies that are simply right. The notes rise and fall as they should, providing comfort alongside the toe-tapping.

U2 influences abound on “Big White Elephant,” a cut that lightly builds to a warm, welcoming place. Mullane toys with his upper registry a bit, guiding the inspiring chorus with bluster and force.

“Model Homes” is a personal favorite. The pacing is graceful, opening with a natural-sounding potion of piano and acoustic guitar, and the drums take the song and listener higher. Mullane’s assertion to “just burn it to the ground” stands as a call to action. This is striking, heart-rending stuff.

The guitar-driven rocker “The Warning” bounces with head-nodding tempo and allows Mullane and the boys to work out some breathtaking arrangements. Strings, keys, guitars, bass, and drums come together in a song that goes in all the right directions. And the darker drive of “Torches” tells us a tale of ache and humanity.

It’s hard to ask art to duplicate its derailing effects on others. While We Are An Empire, My Dear might not remove the cobwebs from every eye and open the shades in every home, I can say that it did in mine and for that it will forever be a memorable, joyous record.

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About Jordan Richardson

  • Fei

    love the track – Fill Our Wounds – heard it from tv series, The Listener Eps 12!