SAFIA

"Internal"

(Warner); Electronic Pop

By ​Phil ​Bennett

Just like the rays peeking behind that spring cloud, SAFIA’s debut album is a delicious selection of sun-kissed electronic pop that spreads across dancefloor shakers, slow chillers and grand orchestrated ballads.

A young fresh-faced trio from Canberra, the group displays a subtle maturity that comes from 7 years of fairly relentless touring in the lead up to their first album seeing the light of day.

Featuring the warm, slightly intense voice of Ben Woolner, the cleverly layered guitars and keyboards of Henry Sayers and the atmospheric drumming of Michael Bell, they have created a sound that is all their own but is varied enough in texture and musical territory covered to keep things constantly interesting as the album progresses.

Opening with the grandiose instrumental Zion, you are led down a slightly mischievous blind alley as this really is only an introduction as you can almost see the credits roll behind its Jean-Michel Jarre inspired synth groove.

And just as you think this is a horse of a different colour, it segues into the scorching soul ballad Embracing Me, a marvellous vehicle for Woolner’s voice to wrap you up in his warm tones.

Highlights from there include the reggae meets hip hop on the Studio 54 dancefloor of Make Them Wheels Roll, the dreamily sensual Close To You and the shadowy mist enveloped Go To Waste.

Full of hooky melodies and taut arrangements, Internal is a shimmering thing that glows with the optimistic energy of a group of musicians at the very cusp of their collective power.

Brimming with youthful potency, yet perceptive beyond its years, this is smart pop that’s built to last and if they maintain this trajectory, SAFIA will be an outfit that should come up with some pretty amazing stuff in the years to come.

Impressive.

​Phil ​Bennett

Musician, actor, singer, music reviewer, Phil’s interests cover a lot of bases and this is reflected in the music he writes about. From blues to soul, ambient to electronic, Phil writes about artists he feels are interesting, true to their craft and worthy of your ears.