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Safety
Artist: Ty Tabor
Label: Metal Blade Records
Length: 10/45:42

Better known as the guitarist and sometime lead singer of King’s X, Ty Tabor has quietly released three solo albums.  The latest of these is Safety, an album that Tabor himself calls “the most difficult subject matter I had ever written about”.   This becomes evident in the lyrics ­ at least seven of the ten songs deal with the deterioration of Tabor’s marriage and the subsequent divorce.  Even the cover art indicates this, picturing Tabor in a Christ-like pose, wearing a crown of thorns, arms open wide, struggling against ocean waves.

Safety features the best vocals from Tabor in quite some time, a quality sorely lacking in the last two King’s X albums.  His voice has a Beatlesque quality at times, while at others resembling Vertical Horizon, particularly on the title track.  His trademark guitar is here as well, featuring a few King’s X- and Foo Fighters -style riffs, but more complementary than dominant on this work.

“Tulip (Your Eyes)” is the optimistic song on the album, seemingly portraying a new relationship for Tabor, as he pays homage to the feelings caused by a new love interest.  “Better to Be On Hold” details the frustration of being trapped in an unfulfilling relationship:

  It’s a thing I can’t assess
  I admit I am a mess
  She’s unable to profess
  And it leaves me in distress
  She is patient in excess
  I’m unable to progress
  She’s a frozen baroness
  I am rendered meaningless…

  She will never love me, but she won’t leave me
  I’m better to be on hold
  She will never feel me but she won’t leave me
  I’m better to be on hold.

“Missing Love,” “Funeral,” and “Room for Me” all continue this theme, showing the despair and emotional agony caused by marital discord.  “True Love” asks the simple question “how did true love end up here?”

“Now I Am” and “Anger” show the steps in dealing with recovery ­ the first states that its author “Grew up when my wife left me,” while the latter details the struggle caused: “Anger…if I think about it."

Finally, Tabor realizes he has done all he could, and sees the need to let go in “I Don’t Mind.”

"So if it’s you/ You need some time/And if it’s you/You need to find/I don’t mind/Any more.”

Safety is Tabor’s baby ­ he sings, plays guitar and bass, programs some drums and loops, and produces.  Christian Nesmith is featured on guitar, and Jerry Gaskill (King’s X) does some drumming.  Wally Farkas (Galactic Cowboys) adds a guitar solo on “I Don’t Mind.” 

This is an intensely personal album, one Tabor states “almost wasn’t released”.  Still, it works well musically, and should provide some therapy for those who have gone through similar situations.  Tabor has never been better vocally, and the mix here is much better than on Moonflower Lane, his previous output.  _Safety_ is not “King’s X light” ­ it is an album that stands on its own, with its own tone.  A pleasure to listen to, while the lyrics are painful to hear.

Brian A. Smith 20 May 2002


 
 
 
 

 

   
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