SPEAK AND BE HEARD: THE FINEST SYNTHPOP

SPEAK is a synthpop group from Austin, Texas. Combining ear pleasing vocals with catchy synthesizer backdrops, Speak breaks out of the mold typical to the genre. None of their recent songs sound forced; in fact they jam in ways that I was unprepared for.

Composed of Troupe Gammage on keys and lead vocals, Nick Hurt on guitar, Joey Delahoussaye on bass, and Jake Stewart on drums, the band has been putting out material for over five years now. They have a comfort with one another that comes with ease translated in their music. These smooth dance tunes will help even the most awkward of us find our groove.

Their latest song is “Gates,” which hopefully might be a lead single off a forthcoming album. Ridiculously catchy, between the synthesizer and Gammage’s vocals, I am hooked. True to the new wave style of Austin, in the music video everybody looks slightly lost, or out of place. Maybe it’s the thick rimmed glasses and the awkward carrying of the magic metal box. Regardless, the more I listen to this song, the more I like and appreciate Speak. I found myself coming back again and again to “Gates,” even humming it first thing in the morning after I woke up.

Gammage truly has a fantastic set of pipes, not only making dope music with Speak but also performing voice work for many and multiple video games. Even though each member of the band is talented beyond reason, it is Gammage that I find ties the whole shtick together.

Improving and tweaking their sound much over the course of their last few projects, their latest album Pedals, which came out mid ’14, is a good place to start if you’re not hip. Their lead single off Pedals is “Peaks”; sick drums over elegant harmonies. The beat will immediately get your head a bobbin’, if you have a pulse.

“Heavy Metal Way” may be my favorite track on the project. It brings a more rock-friendly feel with the drum-line intro that sets the rest up perfectly. Again, Gammage’s vocals are truly inspiring. He reminds me of a young Adam Levine the way he seamlessly switches between low scratchy growls and pristine falsetto.

Much of Speak’s appeal to me while listening through their discography is how they don’t lean on the category of ‘synthpop’ as a clutch, but instead uses it to fuel the basis of who they are. They incorporate gnarly guitar solos and blistering drum beats to round out a healthier end result. Some of their instrumentals take on a post-rock sense of depth and longing. Nothing resembling pedantic, Speaks excels at surprising the listener track after track.

I am sincerely looking forward to the next tape from the lads of Austin. With a ton of new music already infecting the airwaves of Summer 2016, I think Speak has a bonafide chance to really be heard.