Safe Boating Is No Accident crawled out from the morass of disappointments, disillusionments and muted desperation that can really only be found in the Midwest. But at least Leighton Peterson and Neil McCormick found the comic possibilities inherent in those experiences and a vehicle with which to create the musical equivalent of David Foster Wallace's great novel Infinite Jest. Rather than write some heavy-handed purely topical lyrics, these guys are postmodern tricksters who blur the line between humor, biting social satire and solid pop songcraft.
Initially part folk and avant-garde performance art, Safe Boating put on the kinds of performances people talk about for a long time afterward--from disturbingly dramatic faux break-ups on stage, to a reenactment of 2001: A Space Odyssey and a show that can best be described as a staged hostage-taking of the band where it was forced to perform in an alley and the audience saw McCormick's death and resurrection. For its next chapter, Safe Boating is temporarily setting aside its overtly miscreant ways in favor of sculpting cathartic pop songs akin to what you heard out of the early Elvis Costello and The Jam. Still firmly in place is the sharp wit and playfully caustic conceptual humor that has been the group's hallmark from the beginning. The inspired hijinks will return without warning but Safe Boating has never been about gimmicks so much as involving those who show up in the moment if they dare. -Tom Murphy