Yeesh… where to start?
Safeguard are a pop-punk band from York, and this new self-released EP was tossed to the world on the 31st of March. Going into this EP as a fan of the pop-punk I was excited to see what the band could produce. Unfortunately, When Did You Stop Caring? Is incredibly underwhelming.
Opening on Introvert, the EP starts with wobbly footing- the production value of the release becomes clear right at the start, and in the case of this EP this is not a good thing. The recording feels rushed and forced together, making the tracks feel messy and unprofessional. The vocal performance on the release also are painfully flat, forcing a wince from any listener. The opening track would work as a swinging wrecking ball to start a release if the vocals weren’t so awry and the instrumentation wasn’t so messy. The only redeeming musical element throughout the EP is the drums, since there’s considerably less chance of drums being so painfully out of tune, as the guitars seem to be.
The band seem to have good sensibility when it comes to writing a pop-punk track as shown by the “When did you stop caring” vocal break during Footsteps, displaying their prowess as musicians that can put together a song, but the glaring issues of the EP’s production and the vocals stand beside the issue that the songs as a whole are underwhelmingly generic. Tracks like Empty Nest feel like something peeled from the cutting room floor in the studio for a Neck Deep album, and the EP fails to be anything memorable (at least in a good sense).
It’s a shame to see such musicians wasted on a release like this, and I am conflicted as to if the band are dedicated to their work or not. They can still prove that they care about the music that they make, but the rushed feeling of this release make it seem as though Safeguard just wanted to release some music, despite how clearly shoddy the production is. Overall, When Did You Stop Caring? Is an unfortunate listen- an uncreative, flat, and downright upsetting listen. With a title bearing an issue of caring or not, it seems hypocritical of the band to even state the title of the EP, since it really does not feel like they care that much themselves.