The terrain of post-rock is a tough place for a band to put themselves, especially with current standouts Explosions in the Sky and veterans Godspeed You! Black Emperor leading the safari. You have to find the right combination of dynamics, theatricality, and technical skill to stand out in the wash of reverb. Los Angeles-based Beware of Safety are able to find that proper concoction and add something their aforementioned peers tend to lack: raw rock power.
On their second, and latest, album, Leaves/Scars, BoS sound more like a prog-metal band than anythingand thats meant in the most complimentary of ways. Opening track Meridian is a refreshing change from the standard running crescendo on which most post-rock bands rely. Beginning with a bouncing bass line akin to One of These Days by Pink Floyd, Meridian seems to be another post-rock buildup until the 2:25 mark when things kind of break down, and a sinister sounding guitar line starts. From there the song quickly turns into an almost At The Drive-In-like rock out, and you become aware that BoS is working on a different level than most. They even add in a little vocal work near the end with some lost-in-the-distortion screaming that gets kicked off with a well placed WOO!a rock trick that I personally love.
Crooked Nails for Catching Skin is a jazzier and more a tempo side to BoS that veers dangerously close to muzak but stays on the side of good while showing something most post-rock bands dont often delve into: a non 4/4 variant beat and meter. While they dont go explore the sort of weird territory best left for The Mars Volta, it is enough of a change to set the song apart from the rest. The song also shows off BoSs instrumental skill. Bass player Tad Piecka, a recent 2009 addition to the group, is an essential part of the bands different sound. His playing is technically sound and incredibly inventive. The three-guitar attack of Adam Kay, Jeff Zamina, and Steve Molter adds fantastic layers of solos and atmosphere over Morgan Hendrys explosive drumming.
The album does have moments that recall Explosions in the Sky, as heard via reverberating guitars and buildups, but Leaves/Scars is able to combine those with Godspeeds sense of theatricality and emotion. BoS have set themselves apart as a powerhouse in the post-rock scene with Leaves/Scars. While Explosions in the Sky is busy inspiring/creating the soundtrack to Friday Night Lights and Godspeed is soundtracking zombie filmsand thinking highly of themselvesBeware of Safety are off enjoying themselves and creating what could be the new sound for the most badass feel-good horror film of the year.