The first half of Speak’s sophomore release, Pedals, is full of heavy dance and electronic music influences, including some beats and sounds that sound like they belong from Kanye West’s Yeezus. However, the melody and catchy rhythms of the synthpop band come alive after the initial few tracks to provide a cohesive listening experience, full of metaphorical and insightful lyrics about celebrity life, love and artist vulnerability. The incorporation of traditional and experimental instrumentation helps the band develop an extremely alluring sound, strongly captivating the emotions throughout the album.
One of the first tracks on the release, “Nightlight,” sports a riveting robotic-like guitar solo on top of a momentous, electronic-heavy rhythm. From the ‘80s dance pop-influenced song “Peaks” onward, Pedals finds its groove with notable drumming and driving synth riffs that vary in dynamics, intensity and tempo. On “Modern Art,” lead vocalist Troupe Gammage sings about artist insecurities over a simple but powerful guitar riff and drumline. “Be Reasonable Diane” has Gammage channeling his best Lou Reed impression, and nails it as the synthesizers and drums provide a melodious and captivating progression. The dark ambiance created by the music in “Congo” complements the sympathetic lyrics about good-byes and walking away from a good thing.
Pedals has a plethora of foot-tapping tracks that will entice audiences on multiple listens. The complex and unique dynamic changes in songs, the ways that other tracks crescendo and switch tempos sound fresh and intriguing time after time. The progressive arrangements of Speak are a refreshing take on electro-pop, carving a musical path of their own in the midst of similar bands like Haim and Passion Pit that will surely develop over time and carry the Austin, TX quartet to prominence.
In A Word: Entrancing