Speak Low If You Speak Love - Everything But What You Need (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Speak Low If You Speak Love

Everything But What You Need (2015)

Pure Noise

Acoustic act, Speak Low If You Speak Love, is ideal for Sunday reflections as the twilight fades. If you enjoy sipping a cup of coffee to the likes of Evan Weiss or The City on Film then Ryan Graham (of pop-punkers State Champs) is a journey you'd wanna imbibe. Everything But What You Need is intensely personal and a lighter trip around the sun for lovers of acoustic and indie jams. In fact, it's a record for lovers in general. By the fireside, of course.

First off, the artwork's what really caught my eye. As someone who thinks State Champs faded in 2013's The Finer Things, I admit it's the buffalo that got me to listen to this. Something about it seems so visceral and extracts a lot of emotion. It's definitely proportional to the emotive toll of the record. The twinkly, warm opening duo in "Art School" and "Knots" feel like Graham's going on about regret and loss in life. For some reason, the ups and downs here remind me of fellow label-act, Elder Brother, but this time, it's a more stripped down essence that definitely will have me giving State Champs a bigger shot. Graham fortifies himself as a songwriter even more as he trudges through the album.

"Locking Lips" highlights the cheesiness of the acoustics on tap but what it further adds is a sense of vulnerability and admission. Graham openly admitted that this album is a three year snapshot into his life when he felt defeated and down but what these tracks bring out is the therapeutic route he took through music instead of dwelling in bitterness and wallowing in self-pity. It's inspirational how his words emanate and there's a formidable aura around the hope and promise Graham urges on and on.

The lyrics show a lot of personal strength. Unsurprisingly, it's nothing too groundbreaking, especially with the romantic themes at heart, but it feels so authentic and real, that you can't help but be drawn in. It's a record that undeniably comes off cliched but you know what you're in for when you pop it in. Some tracks are a bit repetitive and it does lack dynamism and flair at key intervals but still, there's something there. The CD and vinyl exclusives are something I implore you to explore for yourselves but as far as the digital exclusive "Have My Head" goes, believe me when I say, you'll be surprised how much you latch onto what Graham has to say. At day's end, it feels like he's advising you to give love a chance.