It's generally a bad sign when the lead singer quits a band in the middle of an album, especially when that singer wrote every song on the band's previous two albums. It is therefore somewhat surprising that Safety in Numbers was not merely a good album, but one which rivals Crack the Sky's award-wining first release. Though departing leader John Palumbo contributed a few vocals before quitting the band, new singer Gary Lee Chappell and other bandmembers filled in nicely on a mix ofPalumbo's songs and new tunes written by guitarist Rick Witkowski and various partners. The two songs written by Palumbo aren't even the best -- that distinction would have to go to "A Night on the Town (With Snow White)," a delightful piece that mixes styles from the 1920s and progressive rock in a way that is probably unique. There are other lyrical gems here too, including the grim title cut and the sarcastic concert favorite "Lighten Up McGraw." Palumbo's "Nuclear Apathy" is five minutes of good song stretched to eight minutes, though the splendid guitar work and inspired arrangement does much to redeem the error. Taken as a whole, Safety in Numbers showed that there was more toCrack the Sky than John Palumbo, and that the band was ready to carry on in high style. AMG.
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