ALBUM REVIEW: Nearsighted showcases maturity for Speak Low If You Speak Love

“Nearsighted explores existential themes paired with intricate instrumentals that create an intimate experience for the listener.”

Ryan Scott Graham has released the second album for his solo project, Speak Low If You Speak Love. Graham is well known as the bassist and accompanying vocals for pop-punk band State Champs. However, this album is about to bring Speak Low to the forefront of alternative music.

Graham will be embarking on his largest tour thus far for Speak Low, starting this week as the opening support for Neck Deep.

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Graham released debut album Everything But What You Need originally in 2013, but re-released it through Pure Noise Records in 2015. The album features a solo acoustic sound. However, Nearsighted shows just how much Graham has matured musically since then.

Nearsighted introduces full instrumentals to the music, giving each song a more intricate sound in comparison to EBWYN. The opening track “Have I Changed” exemplifies this. The mostly instrumental song pays great detail to the sound  surrounding the lyrics.

The instrumentals show Graham’s experimentation in sound. Some songs such as “Circle Spinning” have a more upbeat, indie sound to them. In contrast, there are songs like “Hold Me Now” which contain a lot of softer sounds, creating almost a feeling of a lullaby. The song also the addition of brass instrumentals, introducing a blues vibe.

The album at the surface explores themes of love, but not the typical boy meets girl. It looks at the anxieties and doubts of relationships and oneself. But beneath the surface, the the album makes you think about more than just love, it applies to many different situations and feelings.

“Hatsuyume” is a song that shows Grahams maturation lyrically and instrumentally. The word “hatsuyume” is a Japanese term referring to ones first dream of the new year. It is believed that the dream tells the luck of the dreamer for the year. One of the striking lyrics in the repeated through the song is “she killed herself in a dream I had”. This in addition to the album artwork, channels influence from Graham’s travels to Japan.

One of the strongest songs off the album is the third single released, “Safety Net”. The song contains a soft indie vibe. The chorus contains the lyrics:

“I won’t build you a safety net, if you’re just planning to fall in it. Cause we both know there’s no second best.”

This brings the listener to think about trust and relationships, but not just love. How many friends have you gone out on a limb for who just ignore it? In addition to the lyrics, the song includes female vocals, creating a conversation-esque feel to the song.

In our interview with Graham, he said ” I want listeners to achieve some kind of closure while listening to Nearsighted.”. This holds absolutely true. Nearsighted explores existential themes paired with intricate instrumentals that create an intimate experience for the listener.

Nearsighted is set to release on Jan. 19 through Pure Noise Records. You can pre-order the album, as well as vinyl editions here.

Check out our interview with Ryan Scott Graham by clicking here!

You can keep up with Speak Low If You Speak Love on Twitter and Facebook.

Be sure to keep an eye out for our coverage of his set at The Majestic Theatre with Neck Deep in Detroit on Feb. 9!

*Photo Credit: @cruxsader

 

Kailey Howell