Ryan Scott Graham is mostly known as the bassist/backing vocalist for pop-punk troupe, State Champs. However, his solo project, Speak Low If You Speak Love, began a few years prior to him joining the band. Speak Low‘s 2013 debut album ‘Everything But What You Need’ was re-issued in 2015 after Graham‘s signing to Pure Noise Records, and was a heartfelt effort of acoustic tunes filled with emotion and delightful harmonies.
2018 marks the release of sophomore LP, ‘Nearsighted’, and this time around Graham is backed by a full band, and his signature acoustic sound is complimented with elements of indie and pop. The result is a real showcase of his songwriting skills and versatility.
The more stripped back tracks, including the gut-wrenching ‘Hatsuyume’ and album opener ‘Have I Changed?’, allow Graham‘s voice to really shine, baring slight resemblance to The Fray‘s own Isaac Slade. It’s the emotion seeping through his vocals that pull this album up and along. Lead single, ‘Enough’ was the first glimpse fans got into a change in Speak Low‘s direction, followed shortly by ‘Safety Net’; the former lead by a groovy bass line, and the latter with delicate piano chords and smooth synths.
‘Nearsighted’ balances between stripped back acoustics and bouncy indie-pop melodies extremely well, throwing the listener a slight curveball whenever they feel the formula has been dissected. The album’s swan song ‘Swell’ is a six minute epic that closes ‘Nearsighted’ on an impeccably high note.