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Album Review: Safehaven by Tides From Nebula

Polish post rock band Tides From Nebula released their fourth album Safehaven at the beginning of May through Mystic Productions. This time around they’ve gone down the route of self-production and it acts as both their greatest strength and weakness.

If you’re unfamiliar with Tides From Nebula, they create a sound that’s befitting of their name (a nebula being a interstellar gas and dust that acts as the birthplace for stars). Each of the eight tracks goes heavy on the post rock, it’s an album for the post rock purist. Full of big atmospheric tones, emotional landscapes and delicate and intricate guitar parts that take you on a sonic journey through different moods.

Safehaven is an album that revels in ambition and grandeur, with only one track coming in under four minutes you’ll find epic and sprawling tracks to be the order of the day. Interestingly, shortest track ‘Colour of Glow’ is the one track that sticks most rigidly to the post rock template. It’s delicate guitar tones lull you in a serene mood and packs an heavyweight emotion punch without having to resort to blistering riffs. It’s at these moments that you appreciate how good Tides From Nebula are, and while you find almost perfect glimpses of it within ‘We Are The Mirror’ you feel the atmospheric guitar parts are overshadowed by the heavy guitar parts.

It’s no surprise then that album opener and title track ‘Safehaven’ is the standout track. While there may be some rousingly powerful guitars, they fit perfectly with the more sonically adventurous atmospherics and play the ideal counterpart to the keyboards and sampled string arrangements. It’s as if Maybeshewill morphed with God Is An Astronaut. Again the big guitars work well for the most part in ‘Knees to the Earth’, when they act as the vehicle for the crescendos it’s excellent, however you feel that they could be honed and toned down a little at the start. There’s the same kind of feel to ‘Traversing’, it’s at these moments that you feel some outside influence and production would have helped the band. Sure there’s nothing wrong with the production, it may just have needed somebody to refine the sound and rein it in a little.

Conversely when you hear the wonderful ‘All The Steps I’ve Made’ and ‘The Lifter’ you get the sense that this is a band with a new found freedom and confidence. Perhaps they would’ve have been able to create such impressively sprawling and ambitious tracks with outside influence. In essence if you take the rough with smooth, the good outweighs the bad. In final track ‘Home’ there’s a sense that all the different sounds have come together with aplomb, it’s commanding and enthralling, the intricate and sprawling parts have just as much impact thunderous guitar moments and crescendos.

Safehaven isn’t a perfect album. It has its flaws, yet they’re offset by the spine tinglingly emotive moments. The last minute of ‘Home’ is something truly special. This is Tides From Nebula at their most powerful.

AD Rating 7/10

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