For an artist that’s in as loved of a pop-punk band as State Champs is, you wouldn’t immediately assume bassist of the group Ryan Scott Graham would produce a solo project like Speak Low If You Speak Love. In fact, the two projects’ sounds are so different from one another, it’s hard to even picture Graham being in both projects at all. However, that’s the best thing about music — you can do whatever you want with it, whenever you want to do it.
Speak Low If You Speak Love is the solo brainchild of Ryan Scott Graham. The electro-indie-rock project is releasing a second full-length album. Following up a 2015 release of Everything But What You Need, the latest release is the more mature version of the Speak Low If You Speak Love sound.
From State Champs to Speak Low If You Speak Love, Nearsighted Shows Graham’s Talent, and Love for Music Regardless of Genre and Instrument
If Nearsighted was a feeling, it’s dropping the needle onto your favorite vinyl album on a chilly and rainy fall day while you’re laying sipping coffee and catching up on your Instagram feed. In its entirety, Nearsighted brings you to a place where you feel your entire body relax and you can absorb every layer and lyric to each track.
Opening with “Have I Changed,” you’re absorbed into the soft indie rock sound immediately and quickly captivated even further with the electronic aspects littered across the melodies. Each track on Nearsighted has this same effect, where the rock and electronic elements play off each other, developing this full sound that is another level different from anything anyone else is doing at the moment. And while each track has these similar qualities, each track also bears little similarities to the one before it, truly bringing you into the new world that is Nearsighted.
You can see this immediately on the second track, “Enough,” with funky dance basslines and synth lines that could have come straight out of an ’80s David Bowie track. At the chorus, you’re dancing in your chair and singing along to “enough is good enough / for what we’re holding on to” while the track holds onto this chill demeanor that the entire album maintains.
Between “Contrasting Colors” and “Ever Yours,” you can hear the intentionality Graham put into every note, instrument, and lyric on the album. Both tracks build in intensity with each passing second, adding things you wouldn’t expect that melt seamlessly into one another. It creates one of the biggest moments of the album in what I honestly thought at first listen was one continuous track. However, the way both tracks relate to each other and have completely different feelings involved, you’re there feeling the pain of love asking if they were every really yours to someone you don’t even know.
“I wanted to experiment in a big way with my songwriting and my drummer Drew and I sat with each song for days, weeks, (even years on a handful of tunes) just toiling with each chord progression, making sure every note had a purpose,” said Graham. “I’m older now, and I’m always looking for new ways to express certain ideas, so I really feel we captured that with the sound of this record. It’s different enough to be interesting and fun, but still the Speak Low I think many have come to know.”
“Cannot Have It All” will have tears streaming down your face. The acoustic centered track builds from the first chorus with repetitive drumming, arpeggiated piano, strong basslines, and even a horn line on top of a vocal quality that feels like Graham could’ve been holding back tears (I know I would’ve been) singing out “but you cannot have it all” by the end with a trombone solo layered over it.
Nearsighted is out January 19, 2018, via Pure Noise Records. You can also catch Speak Low If You Speak Love on tour with Neck Deep across the US this winter. Keep updated with Speak Low If You Speak Love on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.