Recommended Tracks: “Thank You, Derrick Watson”, “All the Things”, “Friend You’ve Been”
Artists You May Like: Darlingside, Tall Heights, Oshima Brothers
As Olivia Rodrigo so accurately puts it on the opening track of her debut album, “It’s brutal out here.” She refers to the chaos of being a teenager – the egos, the anxiety, the criticism constantly felt on a daily basis. We truly live in a chaotic world, one that can make living with various people and feelings a brutal act. This is a concept that comes out on Frances Luke Accord’s Safe in Sound, the sophomore LP from the indie folk duo of Brian Powers and Nicholas Gunty. On Safe in Sound, the Simon & Garfunkel-sounding team reflect on their experiences with life and death, the memories and interactions that have them look outward in order to feel safe inward.
The album begins in a serene, optimistic space with three tracks that inspire change and instill hope. We open with “Window,” a quiet call to action that urges the listener to “open up your eyes.” Even with such essential lyrics, there are moments when the track speaks for itself, the pauses between the notes making the track more intimate, more potent. On “Dust to Dust,” we get a forward-moving vibe with light guitar strumming, encouraging us to “Let go the most / Give up your ghost.” The track is very poetic in nature, and the harmonies from Brian and Nicholas give lines like “Blackness by the light / Darkness by the night” an extra spark. The proceeding “Sunnyside” is just as poetic, its catchy melodies and positive lyrics turning it into a type of cheerful lullaby.
As we strive for new beginnings and better tomorrows, it is important to take with us the lessons we have learned from various relationships. Frances Luke Accord walk us through the meaning of devotion on “Maria,” wondering if uncontrollable circumstances would provoke a parting of ways. While the music is calm and unprovoked, the lyrics take us into some shaky territory as we hear what could happen “if the sun goes dark some day and all the stars fall out from space.” The topic of devotion arises again on “All the Things,” which contains a more pleasant disposition. The lively folk production, complete with the uplifting sounds of the banjo, horns, and carefree whistling, emphasizes the love that is contained in the lyrics. It is here that we take in how beautiful it can be to share a life with someone, lyrics like “Sing me out if I’m lonely / Breathe me in if I’m blue” and “If it thunders a bit too loud / I’ll sing for you, my songbird” romanticizing the act of being there for someone.
In the end, we are all connected – not only to each other but to nature and the universe. The reflective “Saint Mary” was inspired by a bicycle accident that almost cost Nicholas his life, prompting him to shift his views of mortality. The track starts out innocently enough with the soothing sounds of acoustic guitar before a brief piano interlude whisks us away to these profound views, such as “In the blink of an eye, I was left / The whole world was ending / But also rebirth / And also pretending / Knowing what life is worth.” There is also the closing track “In My Life,” which features Frances Luke Accord’s friends and mentors in Darlingside. They summarize the messages heard on the album thus far, touching on the highs and lows that we all face in this lifetime with strong metaphors like “I’ve seen the sun go down / And the moon on the rise.” Along with this imagery, we get cheerful melodies and gentle vocals that remind us to stay grounded, open, and ready for all that life has to offer.
Overall, Safe in Sound is thoughtful, perplexing, and meditative. It can please those out there who identify with music and sounds, especially the tracks “This Morning” and “Cloudy.” These two use pitch, harmony, and layering to showcase the beauty of voices and instrumentals, and serve as quality interludes on the project. The interplay of notes and textures comes out on “Friend You’ve Been” as well, where we hear an ominous mix of plucking, strumming, and drumming that enhances the sinister vibe of the track. For those who gravitate toward lyrics and messages of songs, Frances Luke Accord do well to include poetry and verses that would cater to these desires. In addition to the inspiring lines, they create strong imagery that drive these stories home, as found on “Thank You, Derrick Watson.” Above all that comes through on Safe in Sound is the peace that Frances Luke Accord find on these songs while sharing their thoughts on life, death, and connection, making them safe in sound.
You can listen to Safe in Sound on platforms like SoundCloud, Spotify, and Apple Music.