Failsafe – Camden Underworld

By paul

Mark the date: Monday 10 November 2008. After nearly nine months since recording Failsafe finally gives birth to a second child. Sophomore album The Answer Is? hits the shelves heralding in what should be a new era for the Preston five. Tonight, a rather disjointed launch tour arrives in the capital and proceeds to showcase the echelons the band has risen to.

Three years ago Failsafe were playing that slot. You know the one. On stage at doors, playing to nobody but the other bands and loading out nearly unnoticed. Showdown City tonight occupies this opening slot but doesn?t allow it to hinder. If anything the quintet is happy to be playing any show outside Wolverhampton and it shows onstage. This particular brand of pop punk is laced with a harder edged punk feel that after a short warm up starts to impress. Looks like there may be a move up the gigging bill sooner rather than later.

Hunting The Minotaur is a strange offering. It?s a little bit electronic, a medium bit prog and a big bit atmospheric. All of this is lavishly swathed over a very indie sound. Think Muse meeting Kings Of Leon and you?re getting the gist. On stage it?s all delivered with a faux snot-nosed indifference and, somewhat randomly, a keytar!

Brides, a twelfth-hour replacement for the absent Chief, impress with a quick set of brutal, technical and very tight hardcore. It?s delivered with just enough melodic and harmonious elements to complement the gut-wrenching screeches of frontman Max D?Albiac. On this performance it?s safe to say the Brighton outfit won?t be left under the ever-growing pile of bland hardcore that seems to be plaguing the country at the moment. Certainly signing to Visible Noise won?t harm.

Failsafe opening with ?Actions For Answers? has always meant instant impact: tonight it just seems different level. In fact, tonight?s entire performance seems to be on another plain. Perhaps it?s a case of absence makes the heart grow fonder, perhaps it?s down to the band growing comfortable with new songs and just being appreciative to be back on the road.

Awaiting the album release, it?s been something of a quiet year for the Preston quintet but that quiet is shattered tonight. Set staples ?Fire At Will? and ?To Deny Yourself? are crushingly delivered with a fervour that is matched by a front row that screams the words back. Merge in the likes of lead single ?Hope? and ?Help Yourself?, undoubtedly the stand-out tracks from The Truth Is? and the result is speculatively the best set the band has played in London. Ever.

It?s a shame then that foot traffic seems a tad low. Maybe it?s the extended lay-off since the band last appeared at the Underworld. More likely it?s a direct result of a little band called Rancid playing across town. Regardless, Failsafe treats those in attendance to a fantastic showing, one that will hopefully be wider appreciated next time around. Here?s hoping that next time around isn?t too far off.