Chiio – “Safari”

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Who wouldn’t want to go on a safari? Even you’re uninterested in seeing a big cat devour a gazelle, perhaps a more everyday safari is in order. If you live in suburbia, it could be people watching in a crowded metropolis halfway across the world. If you spend all day behind a computer, it could be watching human animals engage in complex mating rituals at a dance club. The key is getting out of your comfort zone and embracing discovery.

Chiio embrace discovery and evoke a sense of wonder and power on “Safari”.  The wonder comes from the lightness of the vocal melody. It is beautiful, but doesn’t quite land where you’d expect. The power comes from the insistent tom-driven beats, the muscular riffage of the guitars, the bass rolling underneath it all. With their heavy-pop sound, I’d be shocked if the band didn’t count Smashing Pumpkins as a top 3 influence.

“Safari” is muscular and graceful until it turns a corner. Around 2/3 in, the band kicks into gear, building a wall of tension. They are the lion circling its prey, or perhaps the perturbed heart of the prey. The guitars get crazy, the drums get frantic, the vocals drop out. It’s all been leading to this. The tension hits a breaking point.

The band pounces. And it’s all over. The gazelle is taken out in a blink of an eye. The song is over.

It’s a very realistic ending, but I’d love to hear “Safari” live. In that setting I’ll bet the outro really gets cooking, taking flight instead of clamping down.

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