Sometimes bands manage to just plainly amaze me with the music they come up with. I’m not talking about the ability to write a beautiful melody or to play really fast. What I’m talking about is that moment when bands produce an unpremeditated noise, a sound which you never could have imagined in your head. “Lotusville” is the place where Beware of Safety more than once push past this boundary of what I thought was sonically possible.
RELEASE DATE: 07 October 2014 LABEL: Independent
Exploring “Lotusville” initially felt like revisiting the dystopian material from Sleepstream or the first Spiral album, but rather quickly the experience shifted to David Koresh watching “Spirited Away” with Charles Manson on a big screen in their backyard. Letting my eyes sift through the track list, I realise that the morbidity hidden within the minds of these men is not very hard to discern. Tracks like “To Be Curious is Dangerous Enough” and “Wash Ashore in Pieces” already sound dangerous, yet the place where the album surpasses the bland exploration of violence and the human psyche is found in the cosmic themes of “Stare Down Orion” and “Icarus”. I’m not sure whether I’m seeing concept albums where there aren’t any, but I don’t have a hard time imagining that these two songs put the cult violence and hate in a universal perspective, while “The Fever” and “Second Sleep” end the album with the human evil smothered in death and disease.
Moving past the subject of themes and imagery, the sound Beware of Safety deliver on “Lotusville” transcends the borders of modern post-rock and metal, into the territory of experimental rock legends like Swans. I can’t help but place this album somewhere between the dark country droning of The Seer and the almost happy, but still bone-crushing heaviness of To Be Kind. The rhythmic, low-fi pounding that precedes the last minute of “Washed Ashore in Pieces” seems like a miniature version of Swan’s “Bring the Sun/Toussaint L’Ouverture”. The screeching guitars in “Stare Down Orion” sound like the primeval gears of the universe grinding down the atomic dust of forlorn ages of humanity, while giving me the same goose bump experience as listening to “A Little God in My Hands”.
Then there is “Icarus”, an 8 minute song centred around one melody – and let me tell you it’s not boring! This track has you traveling in the serenity of outer space, and when the surroundings become eerie and cold, everything rewinds like a movie and you’re down to earth again. There we find “To Be Curious is Dangerous Enough” where Beware of Safety manage to curb more of their own energy and some hardcore punk drumming into an exhilarating melody that, together with the country banjo of “The Fever”, expands the palette of tastes on “Lotusville” greatly.
The moments I’ve cherished “Lotusville” the most were actually the moments where I just sat behind my laptop – screen brightness up way to high and not enough light to cover it up – blasting the music through my headphones, and just thinking “ahh, this is so good”. It should be a crime to casually put this record on because there is so many subtle build ups behind the pounding rhythms, so many artful turns are being made and the whole beast sounds otherworldly at times. Over the years, Beware of Safety have really distinguished themselves from other post-rock/metal acts with regards to style and energy; “Lotusville” is another culmination of that.