'Nearsighted' Was Worth the Wait

After nearly three years since its last release, the band Speak Low if You Speak Love released its sophomore album Nearsighted. Ryan Scott Graham, the face behind the music, spent a lot of time working on this album while managing his role as a bassist for State Champs. After several listens to Nearsighted, the sound is eclectic, groovy and overall a matured sound for Speak Low if you Speak Love.

When Speak Low released the first single “Enough” a couple months ago, I was pleasantly surprised by the difference in sound from the songs on Speak Low’s debut album Everything But What You Need. I wasn’t expecting him to release a really upbeat song as the first single, simply because his first album was entirely acoustic slow songs, which I love, don’t get me wrong. “Enough” was an amazing start and I was immediately drawn to the beat and the groove the song had to it paired with Graham’s poetic lyrics.

After “Enough” was released, “Contrasting Colors” was the next single to drop, which was more reminiscent of Everything But What You Need with the slow acoustic sound paired with the romantically somber lyrics, such as, “You and I may never be lovers.” The final single that dropped prior to the release was “Safety Net,” which was another song I was surprised by because it started with the sound I am familiar with, but on this track, Graham experiments with some synth and has a female guest vocalist, which complements the track very well.

Aside from the singles, the album from start to finish is a masterpiece. The opening track “Have I Changed” is a really powerful start to the LP as it addresses religion and Graham’s feelings on his changing opinions. The song is true to Speak Low’s sound with the acoustic feel. Moving down the album, the track that really stuck out to me was “Your Love it Runs,” which I thoroughly enjoyed lyrically. This song addresses the two sided feelings that come with a relationship and how differences can create heartbreak. I like the sound this song has and how Graham illustrates the story for listeners.

The song “Cannot Have It All” also stood out when I listened to Nearsighted for the first time because it has some brass instruments on it, which I wasn’t expecting either. The sound is unique and pleasing to listen to, not to mention the lyrics “I’m afraid to fall apart, I’m afraid of my own heart,” really spoke to me. Graham has always been a strong lyricist, and this album proves that entirely.

The last two tracks “Hold Me Now” and “Swell” were solid tracks to close out the album for various reasons. “Hold Me Now” was a unique listen because of the instruments, which give a nostalgic, vintage film feel that takes you back in time when you listen to it. The song is calm and relaxing, which makes the nostalgic tone that much more powerful. With “Swell,” I immediately felt like I was back in the Everything But You Need era, as the guitar in the opening of the song reminds me a lot of the guitar intro in “Art School.” I love this parallel, so I was immediately pulled into this song. I enjoyed how much this song reflected the first album because it  ties the two together while it shows the growth from Everything But What You Need to Nearsighted.

After taking the past week to fully take in all that is Nearsighted, I am so happy with the outcome. I like that you can see the experiments with different sounds come through so perfectly in the tracks, yet the lyrics are still very much Graham’s stylistically. This album reflects the time Graham has taken on creating it and perfecting it, and how he has grown as an artist. Speak Low is such a great band and I’m so excited to see what Graham comes out with next. If you like acoustic tracks with poetic words to compliment the sound, give Speak Low if You Speak Love a listen. This album was well worth the wait.

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