Album review: Sarah and the Safe Word – ‘Red Hot & Holy’

Sarah and the Safe Word are setting the stage with their new album Red Hot & Holy out May 24, 2019 via Take This to Heart Records.


With creaky doors and distinct footsteps toward a music box that begins to play, just as you’re sure you’re in a horror movie, the mystic vocals and cryptic organ music of “Invocation” then ends abruptly, blending into the title track “Red Hot & Holy” where the piano and vocals truly captivate the listener. A delicate yet forceful violin floats in and out of the song.  Upbeat, almost operatic and phenomenally fresh, “Red Hot & Holy” is a stunner of a song.

“The Louisville Shuffle (RIP)” combines emo, jazz and big band in an incredibly inventive song with a Speakeasy feel that you will want to swing dance and try your best to match the incredible harmonies in the vocal tracks. The album even features a sea shanty with the track “Dead Girls Tell No Tales,” sing along chorus and all.

Sarah and the Safe Word creates music that stands apart from the crowd. With Red Hot & Holy they take big swings into every aspect of their sound, hitting a home run with every track. Red Hot & Holy glows up from the previous album, Strange Doings in the Night, with crisp vocals and pure harmonies, a more sophisticated mix and overall well-polished feel to the sound.

The eccentricities of “Dig a Fancy Grave” are, well, weird. The chorus of “la, la, la, la, la, la, la,” circus sound effects and the playfulness seem kind of over the top at first but the resounding vocal talent of Sarah Rose singing “come with us, your chariot awaits, wipe that crooked smile off your face, bury your sins and dig a fancy grave” is spellbinding. Red Hot & Holy is thrilling, fun, exuberant and one of a kind.

The seven-piece band has so much talent jammed into this album. Red Hot & Holy is not mainstream music – it’s goth you can dance to infused with 1920’s flair and theatrical reverence, but that makes it all the more wonderful.

TAGS: Sarah and the Safe Word | Take This To Heart Records

Jessi McKee

Twitter: @jmckeephotos


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