by Ali Shana
Chicago based alternative rock band Heavenfaced recently dropped their sophomore project, 'To Keep You Safe'. It's an overall great listen for fans of a healthy medium in rock music- aggressive but not extreme, emotional but not forcefully depressing. The adjective 'medium' should not be confused with average, because this band is far from that. Rather, they lie in the middle of the music spectrum. They aren't tied down to any sub-genre binaries. To try to label their sound would be a waste of time. Words like foreshadowing, ghostly, and escalating do more justice than any musical category could. And for that reason, the EP has a genuine vibe to it.
If you were held at gun point and forced to compare them to other bands, you might say Balance & Composure or Pianos Become The Teeth. However, two elements in Heavenfaced's tunes prevent one from being able to do so: Zach Keenum's idiosyncratic voice, and the rapid change in sound from hopeless to hopeful.
Lyrically, Keenum is writing songs about coping with tragedy. However, these tragedies are never fully addressed. This makes it easy for the listener to connect the messages to their own situations. But what makes the content of this EP unique is that overall, it's about overcoming these obstacles. As their EP description reads, 'To Keep You Safe' is a collection of "songs about progression".
Instrumentally, the band uses powerful chord progressions. Although the EP has it's moments of sad interludes and feedback infested empty slots, each song eventually bursts into a full, anthemic jams. This tactic compliments the lyrical theme of overcoming sadness.
Also well worth noting, the project has a constant build up within in it. Songs start soft and get louder, lyrics start sung and end yelled, etc. The feeling that the music is constantly escalating, again, compliments the hopefulness in the lyrics perfectly.
With this EP only being the band's second project, the world is their oyster. You can watch the band perform these songs live November 9th with touring acts from Colorado and Arizona. Allow yourself to listen to 'To Keep You Safe' in it's entirety- you won't regret it.