SAFIA's 'Story's Start Or End' Is An Inspired New Chapter For The Band

  • SAFIA's 'Story's Start Or End' Is An Inspired New Chapter For The Band
    POSTED Aug 09 2019

    Safia

    In 2015, SAFIA played Splendour In The Grass and it felt like a breakthrough. A packed out tent of people howled to a band that didn't even have a debut album out. It was a moment for any Australian band and one that catapulted them to the upper-echelons of Aussie live acts. It was a year before they would release their debut album Internal, an ARIA-nominated record that solidified their place as mainstays of the electronic scene.

    Three years later, the band returned to Splendour In The Grass for what felt like a very deserved victory lap. From Listen Out to Groovin The Moo, they had played every major festival in the country, perfecting their show which now looked as slick as ever. It was a visual experience as much as a sonic one and the trio looked comfortable embracing something huge.

    A debut album can be a difficult step for a band who had already clocked multiple Hottest 100 entries but for SAFIA, they took it as a chance to grow, to become something bigger. In the Hottest 100 for the year following the album release, they notched up three entries for Make Them Wheels Roll, Over You and My Love Is Gone. I guess you could say the album was a success.

    The immediate reaction after a successful debut is to go bigger and faster for the second - keep the momentum going. Instead, SAFIA did the opposite. Acutely aware of the time needed to craft the perfect SAFIA song, the three of them took two-and-a-half years to pen the album, writing more songs than ever before. 

    Instead of going overseas to write the album, they retreated in their hometown of Canberra to work on it, sharing glimpses as they went. It almost feels as if the band didn't really leave at all as they've released a song every year since 2013. Story's Start Or End's first single Cellophane Rainbow dropped in 2017 while they were touring their debut album on the Listen Out tour. That was followed by Freakin' Out and Starlight last year.

    Despite unfolding the album naturally, they still had the problems of having too many songs to add to the album. It's a good problem to have in a way but as Ben Woolner admitted to Music Feeds it caused an identity crisis of sorts. "Self-doubt was really starting to creep in. We had to step away from it," he said.

    SAFIA have always been sonic narratives so it was important for this album to stitch together effortlessly. That time away birthed the album as a whole, allowing to see a narrative that explored something bigger than the band itself. This record looks outwardly, exploring a world overrun with information and corporate messaging. Amongst their pulsating electronic landscapes they find a way to be in their own heads despite it all.

    Think We're Not Alone shows them at their most anxious but that's juxtaposed by more euphoric moments like Maybe You'll Love Again - a song that sounds like George Michael meets Pet Shop Boys. All SAFIA records are haunted in some way and this one has no shortage of dark moments. Woolner's damning vocal performance on Vagabonds sits alongside a creeping, spidery instrumental. Similarly White Lies channels Muse's most twisted electronic/rock music.

    It's also an album that's once again going to set festival stages alight. Like their electronic peers RÜFÜS, there's no shortage of hands-in-the-air moments on here. In fact, it feels like they're unafraid to explore the poppiest aspects of their sound to induce the largest hit of dopamine. Opener Ivory Lullaby is an '80s-inspired moment of greatness while closer Story's Start Of End finds escapism in Woolner's lofty vocals.

    The album isn't a complete departure from SAFIA's debut but it's an extension. It feels bolder and more considered than ever, utilising every bit of the three years in between. An album should be a vessel to take a band higher and Story's Start Or End feels like it will take their live show to another level. 

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Submitted by Site Factory admin on Fri, 09/08/2019 - 23:34

Safia

In 2015, SAFIA played Splendour In The Grass and it felt like a breakthrough. A packed out tent of people howled to a band that didn't even have a debut album out. It was a moment for any Australian band and one that catapulted them to the upper-echelons of Aussie live acts. It was a year before they would release their debut album Internal, an ARIA-nominated record that solidified their place as mainstays of the electronic scene.

Three years later, the band returned to Splendour In The Grass for what felt like a very deserved victory lap. From Listen Out to Groovin The Moo, they had played every major festival in the country, perfecting their show which now looked as slick as ever. It was a visual experience as much as a sonic one and the trio looked comfortable embracing something huge.

A debut album can be a difficult step for a band who had already clocked multiple Hottest 100 entries but for SAFIA, they took it as a chance to grow, to become something bigger. In the Hottest 100 for the year following the album release, they notched up three entries for Make Them Wheels Roll, Over You and My Love Is Gone. I guess you could say the album was a success.

The immediate reaction after a successful debut is to go bigger and faster for the second - keep the momentum going. Instead, SAFIA did the opposite. Acutely aware of the time needed to craft the perfect SAFIA song, the three of them took two-and-a-half years to pen the album, writing more songs than ever before. 

Instead of going overseas to write the album, they retreated in their hometown of Canberra to work on it, sharing glimpses as they went. It almost feels as if the band didn't really leave at all as they've released a song every year since 2013. Story's Start Or End's first single Cellophane Rainbow dropped in 2017 while they were touring their debut album on the Listen Out tour. That was followed by Freakin' Out and Starlight last year.

Despite unfolding the album naturally, they still had the problems of having too many songs to add to the album. It's a good problem to have in a way but as Ben Woolner admitted to Music Feeds it caused an identity crisis of sorts. "Self-doubt was really starting to creep in. We had to step away from it," he said.

SAFIA have always been sonic narratives so it was important for this album to stitch together effortlessly. That time away birthed the album as a whole, allowing to see a narrative that explored something bigger than the band itself. This record looks outwardly, exploring a world overrun with information and corporate messaging. Amongst their pulsating electronic landscapes they find a way to be in their own heads despite it all.

Think We're Not Alone shows them at their most anxious but that's juxtaposed by more euphoric moments like Maybe You'll Love Again - a song that sounds like George Michael meets Pet Shop Boys. All SAFIA records are haunted in some way and this one has no shortage of dark moments. Woolner's damning vocal performance on Vagabonds sits alongside a creeping, spidery instrumental. Similarly White Lies channels Muse's most twisted electronic/rock music.

It's also an album that's once again going to set festival stages alight. Like their electronic peers RÜFÜS, there's no shortage of hands-in-the-air moments on here. In fact, it feels like they're unafraid to explore the poppiest aspects of their sound to induce the largest hit of dopamine. Opener Ivory Lullaby is an '80s-inspired moment of greatness while closer Story's Start Of End finds escapism in Woolner's lofty vocals.

The album isn't a complete departure from SAFIA's debut but it's an extension. It feels bolder and more considered than ever, utilising every bit of the three years in between. An album should be a vessel to take a band higher and Story's Start Or End feels like it will take their live show to another level. 

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