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Safe Home - The Wide Wide World And All We Know Review

by Gisèle Grignon

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The great thing about discovering a new band or artist without benefit (or detriment, depending on your personal views) of pre-packaged, scripted, and visually finite videos is the liberty to create your own version of that band's or artist's musical and pictorial partnership. In the case of Safe Home, chances are your mental movie will include bushels of butterflies, marshmallow-fluffy skyscapes, rolling, lush clover fields…maybe even a castle turret complete with a Rapunzil-like occupant, wistfully pining for her equally folliclely-endowed beau, or for the lead in a shampoo commercial. All of which is artistically shot through a soft-focus, wrinkle and blemish- erasing lens filter.

There's a pre-hippie-dippy era, traveling minstrels-like flavor to Safe Home's second full album. Turns out there may be a good reason for this, (or as good as we can dig up). Safe Home is the secure address of Esther Sprikkelman and Harry Otten of Holland---the same neck of the enchanted/frightful woods as fairy tale tellers, Hans Christiaan Anderson and the Brothers Grimm. Throughout Europe, the pair's --- former bandmates in Nightblooms --- musical efforts have been revered by fans and critics for its "impressionistic lyrics," and "sense of melody that feels European, of French love songs or Italian café laments."

Translation for North American's fast-food-like label lovers: traditional folk and bare-boned, yet compelling acoustic, with a side-order of fairy tale-ish lyrics and production. Hold the overpowering, show-offy high tech gadgetry, with an extra helping of soothing almost medicinal-strength vocals.

"Stay Awake", ironically is a snoozer, or it would be if the repetition of the phrase Stay Awake didn't have the nagging ability to mimic a fly buzzing around you and the fly swatter requiring you to get out of an otherwise warm and seductive bed in order to retrieve it. Happily, it's the exception on this otherwise wholly enchanting sequel to "You Can't Undo What's Already Undid". You can confidently randomly choose a track anywhere in this collection and be rewarded with a spa-like experience, sure to exfoliate from your life much of the chart-making, in-your-face, musical carbon copies passing as songs today. Case in point: "Me and the Bees". Here Esther's seductive yet innocent vocals are as fresh and pure as newly-fallen snow: the real McCoy that requires some serious knee and back bending, yet exhilarating shoveling, not the scant and perpetual sameness of the souvenir snow-globe variety. Truly a Dutch treat.


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Safe Home - The Wide Wide World And All We Know

Label:Now Here Records
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