If you wander onto Speak Low If You Speak Love’s Bandcamp, you’ll be greeted by this description of Ryan Scott Graham’s (guitarist, State Champs) solo project: “Evan Weiss-laden melodies with the pop sensibility of Taylor Swift”. It is potentially one of the most accurate summaries of Speak Low and if it isn’t enough to peak your curiosity, the fresh sound that Graham creates on his debut album “Everything But What You Need” should. The album slid under the mainstream radar for the most part when it was released in 2013, but after being picked up by Pure Noise Records, the album was given a fresh coat of paint and re-released.
Acoustic solo projects seem to have fallen into a ditch of creating a standard artist, if you will, that has become old and overdone fast. Speak Low is as far from this as possible. Albeit, “Everything But What You Need” focuses heavily on heartbreak but it does so in a cathartic way, with Graham’s quite frankly fantastic voice mixing in with a welcome background of acoustic guitar, quiet bass, and soft drums, the combination of which almost forces you to think of lazy summer days. “Art School” opens the album as one of the more upbeat tracks, before we dive into the slow, almost lullaby of “Knots” – easily one of the stand out tracks on this album. After this, the record tends to dance between an upbeat, catchy vibe and a slow, melancholy sound that Speak Low has down to an art.
“A List of Things”, “Locking Lips”, and “Naïve” are without a doubt some of the best tracks on this album, just beaten out by the upbeat “Ruined”, “Tiny Furnace” which stands as the longest track on the album but is so worth it’s near 6-minute entirety, and “Confusion” – perhaps one of the most relatable tracks and most reminiscent of that teenage frustration we all know so well. If you paid this album any attention when it was originally released, you’ll notice the additions of “Adjacent” and “Have My Head”. Both of these tracks bring not so much an upbeat vibe to the album, but certainly a faster paced one – certainly a welcome addition to an already great piece of work.
There’s a raw honesty to “Everything But What You Need” that makes it such a great album. It doesn’t play around or exaggerate for artistic flair. Combine that with influences from the likes of Dashboard Confessional and Into It. Over It., a fresh sound, Graham’s undeniable talent, and it’s easy to see this record being the start of big things for Speak Low. If you’re looking for an album to let your broken heart sing along to, this is it.
Catch Speak Low If You Speak Love on Warped Tour this summer on the following dates:
JULY 9 BURGETTSTOWN, PA, First Niagara Pavilion
JULY 10 CAMDEN, NJ, Susquehanna Bank Center
JULY 11 WANTAGH, NY, Nikon at Jones Beach Amphitheatre
JULY 12 HARTFORD, CT, Xfinity Theatre
JULY 14 MANSFIELD, MA, Xfinity Center