If you saw Sarah and the Safe Word barreling down Atlanta's I-285 last year, we have some good news and bad news. The good news is they stopped their joyride long enough to hightail it up to Cleveland. The bad news is they're now accruing speeding tickets across time and space.
Good Gracious. Bad People! is the briskly recorded, breathlessly ambitious follow-up to last year's Red Hot & Holy. While the album's combination of symphonic dramatics and saber toothed alt-rock may have had everybody reaching for their MySpace logins, the Atlanta group's latest LP doubles down on pre-Internet showmanship. In doing so, the sextet widened their storytelling map to include the rest of the southern United States, the magical realism of backwater folklore, and a kitchen-sink approach to melody making assisted by Jim Wirt (Incubus, Jack's Mannequin). What lingers long after the powderkeg production and the spidery tall tales is the impact of a band experimenting their way through the Roaring 2020's.
Sarah and the Safe Word's anachronistic approach to songwriting, like soaking Prohibition-era attitudes in scotch and soda, may come as a system shock. "Bottom of a Bender" features space-age synths and a guitar solo performed by an electric power drill. "A Celebration—With a Vengeance?!" bursts open a cabaret scene with a thunderous sax solo. "When Oskar Fische Comes to Town” is a song so indebted to organic strings and piano chords that it could be retrofitted for ragtime hour. Such erratic time-traveling isn't for the faint of heart. Let these Georgians introduce you to a few characters. They've got character themselves.
Good Gracious! Bad People. is out now!
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