We’re glad to announce that Oklahoma City, United States-based rock band Speak, Memory have released a new EP, entitled Adirondack.
Speak, Memory is primarily an instrumental band, and the members identify predominantly with the sounds of Midwest emo and math rock. Speak, Memory’s music invokes a feeling of hope, something that Tim from the band says that he feels the world needs more of right now.
Their new EP, Adirondack, focuses on the shifting elements of nature, and how the volatility of it all often reflects our current economic and political climate. For their new EP, Speak, Memory worked with Clerestory AV, who recently put out a reissue of Ester Drang’s Goldenwest album; and Adirondack was mixed by Bartees Strange (Memory Music), who recently produced and mixed Harmony Woods’ Graceful Rage album.
Regarding the inspiration behind Adirondack, Tim from Speak, Memory writes, “As far as what the songs are about, I couldn’t say what individually they’re about. For the EP as a whole, we wanted to aim for a more escapism kind of vibe that recordings by Hopesfall (No Wings To Speak Of & The Satellite Years) presented. To get away from the mess the world brings and to make sense of why certain events occur, but also going head on with such events. I think about a quote from Snow Angels, which also had an impact on composing the music for Adirondack:
‘Arthur, I’m gonna ask you a favour to not bottle this up inside, okay? It’s easy for us to block out the things that upset us, that’s what I do. That’s what most people do. But it’s important that you feel through this, it’s so important I can’t tell you.’
I think we reflected the theme and quote well with the song titles alone (Trails: leads you to where one needs to go. Lakes: Reflecting back on certain moments. Cabin: Getting to the end, and going head to head with the event). While composing the songs on guitar, I personally was going through some heavy stuff (death of my dog, death of my grandma, etc) and a sense of loneliness as someone who has yet to find a significant other to spend the rest of my life with. These songs are a reflection of that hurt, but with a dash of optimism mixed in. The events we go through in life won’t last for long, and it’s important to keep that in mind. It’s kind of interesting. We recorded this EP in December 2019, just a few months before Covid took hold of the US, but I feel like the recording is a reflection of this dark period in time, as well, and how to navigate through it under these circumstances.”
Adirondack begins with “Trails,” which opens the EP with warm, distant-sounding washes of synth chords that create a pleasantly calming effect. The relaxed mood is sustained throughout the track by intricate, angular guitar melodies, which together with the bass and drums conjure an atmosphere that is at once contemplative and optimistic. On the more energetic “Lakes,” bright-sounding guitars and dynamic rhythms create an uplifting yet reflective feeling; and I especially enjoy how the vocals join in briefly towards the end of the track, complementing the instruments quite well. The EP is concluded by “Cabin,” on which imaginative guitar melodies take the listener on a journey through a wonderfully dreamlike, instrumental soundscape, exemplifying Speak, Memory’s excellent musicianship and brilliant songwriting.
Describing Speak, Memory’s process for writing music, Tim says, “The way that we normally write song is I’ll present a completed piece on guitar and once we are in the same room, we’ll workshop the ideas. We’ll break the sections up and work on it piece by piece. Everyone tries to get a feel for the structure before worrying about rhythm and melody.”
And for those listeners who are unfamiliar with Speak, Memory’s music, Tim writes, “For first-time listeners out there, I would expect them to know that we are not tied to one specific sound. We identify as a midwest emo/math rock band, but we have many direct and indirect influences that it comes through in the music that anyone can gravitate towards. Someone described our sound as ‘Somewhere between the limitless worldbuilding of early Explosions in the Sky and the mathy noodling of American Football,’ which we can get down with.”
Adirondack is quite an enjoyable listen, and I would highly recommend it to fans of math rock, Midwest emo, post-hardcore, and post-rock.
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