Speak Low If You Speak Love is the music to listen to when you’re snuggling up with a warm cup of tea. The folk-inflected acoustic guitar strums and soft harmonies provide a laid-back soundtrack to your snowy days stuck inside these winter months.
Speak Low’s sophomore album “Nearsighted” is out today. “Contrasting Colors,” the lead single off the album, contains the calm acoustic strumming and poetic lyrics of Ryan Scott Graham that defined Speak Low’s first full-length “Everything but What You Need.” Graham sings of growing apart from someone he fell in love with: “You were gold, I was green to discover/Swirling like oceans apart from each other/You and I may never be lovers.”
Single “Enough” showcases a full band. The chilled-out indie vibes are still there, but the song is fleshed out in the vein of The Cure, with interspersed synth and a groovy bassline contrasting the typical solo acoustic sound of Speak Low.
While Speak Low performances usually comprise Graham and his guitar, he’s enlisted a full band to come out on the road and play songs off “Nearsighted,” suggesting more songs like “Enough” are on the album.
Speak Low will be supporting Neck Deep on their “The Peace and the Panic” tour, with Seaway and Creeper rounding out the bill. It might seem strange that an artist known for quiet acoustic songs would be opening for high-energy punk bands, but Graham has connections in the pop punk world; he’s been playing bass and providing backing vocals for Albany pop punk outfit State Champs since 2014.
Graham is introspective and personal in his songwriting. “Knots,” off “Everything but What You Need,” explores struggling to connect to a significant other, actual or prospective.
“It’s like pulling teeth to get inside of your head / Because you’ve invested time not to say what’s on your mind,” Graham sings. He talks of how “history repeats itself” and he falls into old patterns. The song swells until Graham’s voice rises to a near-scream where he resolves he “reserves the right to change the ending.”
He’s a talented songwriter, painting detailed scenes with his lyrics and telling stories. Graham told Alternative Press he wrote “Adjacent” as a dual tale about failure and chasing what you want.
“On one hand, it's a tale of bravery, encouraging listeners to trust their intuition even when things seem impossible,” Graham said. “On the other hand, it's a true story about losing. Things didn't go the way I hoped they would.”
For fans of: Death Cab for Cutie and City and Colour
Schae Beaudoin is the life editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.