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  Safe, at One b/w The Queen's Beasts (or suffer fools)  
  Stickfigure Records  
Release Date:
  December 2003  
Reviewed by:

This is the debut 7" from a new Atlanta band. I reviewed eNTERTAINME.nt (and complained about their weird capitalization scheme) when i saw them at The Atlantis Music Conference this year. I enjoyed their set that night. They left me wanting more, and so i picked up this 7". Even though i love vinyl, and the 7" is my favorite format, i often wonder what the bands who release these things are thinking. For example, most Minions do not have the ability to play vinyl, and i would wager that there are more turntables per person in our group than there are in the population at large. So, the 7" is a specialty thing, not something to feed the masses. Still, i appreciate it.

There are two songs here, to be played at 33 RPM. Nowhere on the record does it tell you that, but if you play it at 45 RPM (which you expect for 7"s), the first song sounds remarkably like Obstacle 1 by Interpol. Of course, that's only for the first few seconds, until the vocals kick in, and you realize that you are playing it at the wrong speed. Or that eNTERTAINME.nt are the new Chipmunks, which they aren't....

So you start the song over. It's called Safe, at One, and starts with subtle guitar arpeggios. A nice melodic bass riff comes in, and is joined by low organ sounds. It builds slowly in intensity, until it explodes with a flurry of drumming, and everything gets louder. The voice, which joins shortly thereafter, kind of reminds me of Peter Murphy, or maybe Robbie Grey: sort of dark, sort of upfront, somewhat mopey. The guitarwork really attracts my attention -- it alternates between echoey verses reminiscent of The Edge's playing on early U2 records (think October not Achtung Baby) and overdriven punky choruses. Overall, this is a good post-punk tune that builds nicely to a climactic frenzy then fades out slowly. Very nice.

The b-side is called The Queen's Beasts (or suffer fools). I hadn't played it at the wrong speed until i went to write this review, so, in the interest of science, i did so. Sped up, this song starts like mid-era Cure, and then sounds just silly when the vocals come in. Back on 33 RPM, it still kind of sounds like a Cure song as the guitar wails slowly, and the bass rumbles through a minor key. The vocals here are darker, alternating between a plaintive wail on the verses and a desperate cry on the choruses. The keyboards are a little more noticeable here, as they chime away in a high-pitched, almost silly patch. As i sat and listened to this, i became fairly certain i heard it live, and, at The Masquerade the high-pitched keyboards sounded out of place. They do work better here than they did in concert. Overall, the song is just decent until the band hits the bridge, where the bass takes the melody and the guitar wails as the vocalist sings very much in a Peter Murphy style. A good ending. I guess the song just takes a while to get going.

Overall, i am impressed. This is a very nice, retro-sounding release. If you like new wave and old post-punk like i do, and you have a turntable, this is an excellent purchase. And, again, they leave me wanting more. Listening to this, i think the band has potential, and i want to hear more recordings from them. So stay tuned to this spot....

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eNTERTAINME.nt were one of several bands at The Atlantis Music Conference in 2004.


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