James Norris- Lead Vocals/Synth
Simon Humphries- Guitar
Matthew Cogley- Guitar and Lead Vocals
Andy Sprake- Bass and Keys
Rob Catlow- Drums
review by Jacob Ray
The freshest alternative rock band to make it over to the shores of North America is Preston, England’s Failsafe. Their third album Routines was released on Hawthorne Height’s Cardboard Empire label on April 3rd. In Europe, Failsafe has shared the stage with everyone from Red Jumpsuit Apparatus to A Day To Remember and is going to tour the U.S. for the first time this summer on the “Summer Of Hope” tour with Hawthorne Heights and Forever Came Calling (featured in the Warped Tour Documentary No Room For Rockstars) among others.
The Persistence of Memory
Skin and Bones
Dead to the World
Light of the Day
Something to Someone
Worth the Weight
In my opinion, the mid- 2000’s was a horrible period for “alternative” radio. Bands like Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Hawthorne Heights and Good Charlotte ruled my local alternative radio station’s playlist and it was about that time that I quit listening to the radio all together. Failsafe’s latest album Routines took me back to those times.
The album opens with “The Persistence of Memory”, which features the same “duh dun duh dun dun duh dun dun” guitar parts that you have all heard countless times. The lyrics are fairly corny, and again, it felt like I had heard this song many times before, even though I obviously had not.
The next song is the title track, and lyrically, is so very, very ironic. James Norris (vocals) talks about how people are telling him to stay in line with in society. He wants us to assume that he isn’t going to do that. But the song, and the rest of the album, places Failsafe in a line of imitators behind other radio friendly alternative rock bands. Another thing that was really confusing to me was how the lyrics go from “my mind is programmed to have a routine” to “if I can try, to wrap my arms around you.” I don’t know how well attempted social critique mixes with what I can only assume is romance.
It is about the time that Sleepwalkers, the third track, comes on that another song starts playing in my head. That song is “Please Play This Song On The Radio” by NoFX. That seems to be Failsafe’s end goal, based off of what I have heard so far.
If Failsafe ever releases a music video for Skin and Bones, I’d bet all of the money in my wallet that it will be filmed in the rain and James Norris will be singing with his eyes closed a lot. I know this because that is what every other band that Failsafe is copying did. This song is about how there is no afterlife and no god (from what I could get out of it), which is an edgy statement that can be fairly interesting if delivered correctly. But, any edginess or interestingness is lost in what is just another crappy emo rock song.
The rest of the album continues in the same way and I don’t have much else to say about it that I haven’t already said. However, I would like to make a prediction about Failsafe’s career, based off of this album. This band will have a song on the radio. That is going to happen. They’ve got the look for it, they’ve got the studio production for it, they’ve got big choruses and established radio veterans Hawthorne Heights championing them. Their lyrics will be quoted in Facebook statuses by pudgy 14 year old emo girls who do their back to school shopping at Hot Topic.
Assuming that MTV still plays music videos, they will probably have a video in rotation there. Failsafe will get their fifteen minutes of fame, but unless they move beyond that tried and true emo rock sound and do something different and innovative, that will be it. In other words, there is no way in hell these guys will be able to sell out any good size venue thirty years from now. Routines has no staying power, there is not enough substance or sincerity there. Failsafe has the potential to do better than Routines. They can play their instruments, they’ve got the pipes, there are even times where they have lyrics that could be good. If they cut the fat, and they either find a way to be innovators in a done to death genre, or move away from said genre,Failsafe will hopefully be able to produce something much better than Routines.
• June 1 – Canton, OH – The Auricle -
• June 2 – Erie, PA – Edinboro Campus Event Center -
• June 3 – Rochester, NY – Water Street Music Hall -
• June 5- Stowe, VT – Rusty Nail Bar and Grill
• June 7 – Providence, RI – Providence Social Club
• June 8 – Danbury, CT – Heirloom Arts Theatre -
• June 9 – Long Island, NY – Vibe Lounge -
• June 10 -Towson, MD -Recher Theater -
• June 12 – Knoxville, KY – Long Branch Saloon -
• June 14 – Little Rock, AR – Juanitas -
• June 15 – Dallas, TX – Trees -
• June 16 – San Antonio, TX – Green Room -
• June 17 – Houston, TX – Scout Bar
• June 19 – Albuquerque, NM – Launchpad -
• June 20 – Phoenix, AZ – The Underground -
• June 21 – San Diego, CA – The Casbah
• June 22 – Los Angeles, CA – Key Club S
• June 23 – Bakersfield, CA – On The Rocks -
• June 26 – Portland, OR – BRANX
• June 27 – Seattle, WA – Vera Project -
• June 28 – Spokane, WA – A Club -
• June 29 – Casper, WY – Sunset Bar and Grill -
• June 30 – Provot, UT – Velour
• July 1 – Denver, CO – Hi Dive -
• July 6 – Wichita, KS – The Scene-ary
• July 7 – Herrin, IL – Hitts -
• July 8 – Terre Haute, IN – THMV -
• July 9 – Evansville, IN – The Hatch -
• July 10 – Cape Girardeau, MO – Pitters Cafe and Lounge -
• July 11 – Indianapolis, IN – Hoosier Dome
• July 12 – Whitesburg, KY – Tourism Building
• July 14 – El Paso, TX – Texas Tattoo Festival