After now circulating the Temple house show circuit for months, indie-rock band Humilitarian has released their first single, “Safe in the Center”, a light, ambitious track that draws on the influences of their contemporaries.
The track kicks off with bright, tangled guitars that swirl into an effervescent verse like an airplane bursting through clouds, entering the stratosphere. A punchy kick drum and driving bass are cleanly placed within the mix; while Kira Cappello’s vocals soar overtop the airy instrumental. Cappello’s lyrics carry with them the burden of cautious optimism, as she sings “Can we reinvent / come back to the center?” a deft expression of uncertainty paired with a modicum of desperation.
A catchy chorus finds Cappello flirting with the “millennial whoop” before guitarist/producer Noah Wise and drummer Elijah Glovas-Kurtz trade impressive licks that accentuate the already present emotional tension. There’s an argument to be made against the “whoa-oh” style of chorus songwriting present on “Safe in the Center”, but it serves well in this case as a musically interesting component, and is a reliable and successful staple in this kind of indie-rock songwriting.
A spoken word sample musing on the nature of art and music serves as a bridge, while the rest of the band rushes to construct an almost ambient background. While this insertion is an interesting and bold choice, its dialogue is somewhat obscured behind the instrumental, causing much of what it’s saying (both literally and metaphorically) to become illegible. However, Humilitarian’s powerful swell of instruments guides the listener into the chorus in a way that feels familiar and effective.
For a first outing, “Safe in the Center” is an ambitious and admirable slice of indie. With impressive performances across the board, it doesn’t waste a moment, intensely building and establishing emotional tone. Humilitarian have their heads in the clouds, looking up and looking forward, but never looking down.
- Excellent production
- Great and powerful performances
- Catchy chorus
- Spoken word sample feels a little vague
Listen here! Let us know what you think of Humilitarian’s debut single in the comments below: