Everything moves faster today — information, images, music. Cynicism too. This past decade music fans have seen more and more bands made up of kids, teens and preteens. Right away we set to describing (and limiting) them in terms that noted how cute they were, and how what they were doing was pretty good — you know, for kids. That’s how a scene gets made: People outside of it define and set its boundaries. From there, it’s up to someone on the inside to broaden those boundaries or even break through them.
Listening to their debut single, the quartet Still Saffire could be that band. Two sets of sisters from Nyack, New York (just up the Hudson a spell from NYC), the four girls range in age from 13–16, and yet they’ve already been a band for two years, writing and playing around the New York area. It started with the Scilipotes, Annika (13) and Soreya (15), who soon enlisted their friends the Harrows, Sonya (13) and Charlotte (16). Those are the facts on the outside. But when you listen to the two songs, “Make Your Move” and “More Who Have Less” — two very different but equally cool and exhilarating tunes — you’ll have trouble remembering they were made by kids (well, if not for the sound of Annika’s vocals). And when you pay attention to the lyrics — please pay attention to the lyrics! — you’ll realize that Still Saffire is talking directly to kids their age, and that their message comes arrow-straight at the adult world as well. “Make Your Move” is a challenge wrapped in a memorable minor-key guitar lick, a call to arms: There’s been enough talk about the world’s ills, big and small, so when are you — when are we — going to act? “More Who Have Less” tracks similar themes along a sunnier melody, and among its can’t-be-ignored ideas is the fact that not only do our young people know that there are less fortunate people in the world — they know that us grown-ups know it too, and they’re watching us, expecting us to do the right thing.
Still Saffire is already putting its money where its amps are: Partners In Health and the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls are among the beneficiaries of their live shows and T-shirt sales, and that sort of action is part of what the band is all about. Don’t think that these girls are overly serious, though. They are kids, and they are an indie band too, and they act like it. They each play several instruments and swap them (and vocals) during their shows; they consult with higher authorities about things like using “damn” in their lyrics; they get stuck in elevators – oh yes, find video proof at stillsaffire.com
. Still Saffire are lots of things, and they’re really just getting started.