This duo is unbelievably talented. Indiana singer-songwriter Jillian Speece has the vocal chops of a professional. Her country twang mixed with crisp pop vocals give her the edge above other females in her field. Once you add Nathan Hoff into the mix, you’ve got a force to be reckoned with. Hoff dabbles in vocals, guitar, kick drum, and the keys. Both musicians are classically trained, but they have an element of rawness that is difficult to explain. It’s unpolished, yet refined at the same time.
Both South Bend, Indiana natives, the two met in 2003 and created The Bergamot in 2008. Their 2012 album, Static Flowers, is a compilation of country, rock and pop. Static Flowers is the pair’s third release, following 2010’s EP, Smile, and 2011’s full-length, Haven.
“Linen” is a soft rock jam with a bit of country. The two switch on and off with lead vocalist position throughout the album, but you’d never realize it. They both seem to have such an incredible vocal presence, whether they be showcased or behind the lead. That’s what makes “Linen,” “Smoke & Fire,” “Wishing Well” and “Broken Hearted” such diverse tracks. With the start of each song, you never label one person as being the leader. They are true partners in this musical affair.
The only downfall of this record is “Shake Ur Brotha.” Imagine you’re enjoying this album, only to be interrupted by this annoying song about halfway through. “Shake shake ur brotha/Shake shake your friend/Shake shake your lova” sings Speece repetitively. It seems very juvenile and out of place for this well developed compilation. They are redeemed by “In Between” later on, as the guitar picking by Hoff is superb.
I’d be willing to look past the awful “Shake Ur Brotha” incident due to the fact that the remainder of the album is fantastic. Speece and Hoff make you feel alive throughout their musical endeavor, and that’s what almost every musician dreams of.
In A Word: Lively