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Music Review: SafetySuit – These Times

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SafetySuit, comprised of Doug Brown (vocals/guitar), Dave Garofolo (guitar), Jeremy Henshaw (bass), and Tate Cunningham (drums), are kicking off the new year on a high note with the release of their second full-length record, These Times.

“People always say you have your whole life to write your first record, and your second record you need to do it in a year,” Brown told Sound Spike at the end of May 2011.

SafetySuit - courtesy of Universal Republic RecordsAfter heading back into the studio to create the follow-up to 2008’s Life Left To Go, which spawned the hit single, “Stay,” SafetySuit decided to trash what they had recorded halfway into the recording process and start again from scratch. The band then aligned themselves with powerhouse producers Howard Benson (Daughtry), Espionage (Train), and an old buddy of Brown and Cunningham’s from college, OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder (Gavin DeGraw).

It was with Tedder that the band created their lead single off of These Times, Let Go.”

“I love that song, because it’s such a departure for us,” Brown explained in a press release. “Ryan is obviously a very pop-minded producer, so I said, ‘Let’s have fun with it; let’s do something that’s not the norm.’ It turned out great, and it kills live.”

The track itself does have what I would call a “Tedder Was Here” feel to it, with its symphonic melody and pop-infused beats. It shows that SafetySuit isn’t afraid of taking a risk and experimenting with their sound and embracing pop music. Nevertheless, on an album that’s predominantly rock, “Let Go” shines.

The band gets politcal on the Howard Benson-produced title track. With the economy being less than stellar, the lyrically powerful “These Times” stands out as an anthem for people that have fallen on hard times. The track speaks to the relevance of what’s currently going on in our society, as well as ingraining the hope that things will get better.

“We wrote, ‘These times are hard/But they will pass,’ and that’s important to remind people of,” Brown said in the aforementioned press release. “We’ve made it out of bad times before, and we’ll make it out again.”

Collectively, These Times is a captivating album. You can tell from the opening track, “Believe,” that the musicianship here is really top-notch. On that track in particular, the anthemic ascension of the guitar work in the beginning sets the tone for the entire album. And Brown’s vocals throughout are impressive and incredibly versatile. 

With lyrically relatable, rockin’ and melodic songs about life, love, and everything in-between, SafetySuit’s These Times is a must-listen for 2012. 

These Times by SafetySuit is available now. For more information on the band, check out their official website.

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About Kirsten Coachman

Kirsten Coachman is an Entertainment Writer from the San Francisco Bay Area. She has interviewed a variety of people from across the entertainment spectrum, including singer-songwriter/Matchbox Twenty frontman Rob Thomas, Andrew Dost from the Grammy Award-winning band fun., singer-songwriter Christina Perri, and acclaimed writer-director Derek Cianfrance.