Labeling something as screamo, neo-crust or whatever seems to make everything hard to review these days. Many reviewers used to say how every band sounds the same, that there’s nothing new to review there and how most of the new bands suck. Saying that a band plays screamo can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on where the reviewer is standing on the genre.
Kaji are a few sad kids from Singapore doing screamo the way it has to be. Not because they are recording, mixing and mastering everything in their own homes or ’cause I believe in DIY internationalism and that means I’m excited to write positive reviews for every band coming from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc. but because they really have something to offer. In my humble opinion, “What Safe Means” is an awesome record. It’s true that they don’t sound any different from anything that’s already been done but they’re 100% genuine in what they are doing and you can feel the passion, emotion and love of playing that particular style of music both in their music and lyrics.
“What Safe Means” is a record about mental health, love and relationships, familial decay and abuse, self worth and identity. There’s a great effort in writing meaningful lyrics that should resonate with listener’s own feelings and vulnerabilities. Musically, Kaji are trying to incorporate the sound of Level-Plane’s emo bands (most notably Hot Cross) mixed with some melodies that we can hear from modern day Topshelf’s bands. Technically, they can’t reach the sound quality of these acts or invent something completely new, but hey, this is some totally awesome, genuine and DIY as it could ever be screamo/emo from Singapore.