Ryan Scott Graham is a busy man. Not only is he the bassist and backing vocalist of pop-punk titans State Champs, he also has a side project called Speak Low If You Speak Love. The project focuses on a slower, more acoustic sound, with the occasional electronic element, but never anything as loud as State Champs. This is his second album, and marks five years since the first was released. But with five years more experience, and time away from this project, has anything changed?
The first thing I noticed was that this album is quieter, and more ambient than the previous one. Each song flows into the next, and the dynamics are a lot more subtle. The transition between the five minute odyssey that is ‘Contrasting Colours’ and the beautiful ‘Ever Yours’ is particularly pleasing on the ears. Of course, sometimes you don’t want songs to blend into each other, but trust me it works for this project. It feels more like an experience than a regular album.
Graham is not afraid to turn it up a little, however, as second track ‘Enough’ has a bassline remeniscent of a Killers song, and really feels like something you’d dance to. Incidentally, it’s also one of the best songs I’ve heard so far this year. To contrast songs like that, he has songs like ‘Safety Net’, which is also fantastic. The slow piano chords, backed up by an ambient electronic beat and another voice during the bridge make the song a dreamlike, beautiful experience.
It is the mix of songs like those two that make this album a special sort of experience. The mixture of dreamy and dancey songs are perfect, and the whole album feels like a relaxing breath of fresh air. Because this is what the rock world needs. Something new, something unique, and something completely special. If you listen to one album this week make it this one.
Best songs: Enough, Safety Net, Cannot Have It All, Contrasting Colours