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Safe as Houses release new single

Striking a balance between the soft melodicism of acoustic pop and the forceful rhythm of alternative rock is no easy feat, even for the most accomplished of artists among us, but Safe as Houses take an admirable stab at doing just that in their new single “Lucky Lucky,” and produce a track that is a fun combination of their most cunning attributes. A poignant set of strings tells us a story as grand as the lyrics do, a devastatingly handsome drumbeat frames their melodic notes in a familiar folk-rock beat, and despite the limited scope of the production quality, “Lucky Lucky” often feels more like an intimate live performance than it does a boring old studio single.

The rhythm and rhyme that comprise the hook in this song give Safe as Houses a compositional depth that I wasn’t aware they possessed, and though I didn’t much care for their last record, it’s hard to dismiss the LP that “Lucky Lucky” is named for on the same grounds that I have so many similar efforts this year. For one, both the song and the album don’t remind me of any other artists when I listen to the music. There’s no awkward political homage to Neil Young, no imitation drawl in the style of John Roderick; there’s just a lot of Canadian-style pop crooning engulfed in a swanky gilded groove. I don’t think Safe as Houses are striving to recreate the past here, or even reimagine the folk-rock formula as it’s stood for a half-century. If anything, “Lucky Lucky” asserts their ambitions as being much loftier than those of the concealed cover bands that are calling themselves the faces of indie rock at the moment.

“Lucky Lucky” is as cerebral a hipster folk song as you’re going to hear this spring, and it’s a fine encapsulation of how much Safe as Houses has grown and developed as a band since debuting earlier in the 2010s. It’s a hybrid in an age where blending styles and sounds together without ever thinking twice is more common than not, but I wouldn’t lump it in with the majority of what this group’s peers have been shelling out lately. Safe as Houses are following the beat of their own drum, and whether you dig their music or not, you’ve got to respect their ethos.

Mindy McCall

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