Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Speaker Speaker-Burning Building Recordings

March 1, 2008

Burning Building Recordings

Energetic pop-punk at a breakneck pace.

Speaker Speaker’s first full-length album Call It Off contains music that you can not just simply sit down and listen to. From the very first few seconds, it is clear that this is music meant to inspire toe-tapping, head-nodding, singing along, and, most importantly, jumping around and possibly kicking something in a rebellious fashion.

Let me explain. All 13 songs on Call It Off move at a brisk, invigorating tempo and drive forward with intense energy. There are no love songs here, but this does not mean there is a lack of catchiness. Speaker Speaker manages to combine many elements of punk rock with memorable choruses. The songs are gutsy in their straight-forwardness, with power dripping in every note.

The album’s title track is one of those songs that sounds loud no matter what the volume is. Colin McBride on guitar and vocals, bassist Danny Oleson and drummer Jasen Samford waste no time here; they all enter almost instantly and get right into the thick of things. “Call It Off” is about a lingering relationship that just isn’t working (I guess most punk relationships don’t), and is uncompromising both in lyrics and delivery. It pummels straight into “Radio Days,” which maintains the Nascar-like speed.

“We Won’t March” is a bold anthem of defiance and self-assurance, and seems to sum up the mood of Call It Off. The group affirms that “you won’t see us running, now is the time to stand our ground, no one’s going to push us around” in such a way that makes listeners agree. Stick it to the man, guys!

Overall, this album is not for the weak-hearted, but is a fun and enjoyable listen for anyone who needs to do a little venting. Speaker Speaker’s Call It Off is a roaring, confident, rip-rollicking good time.

Megan Morgan

Speaker Speaker-We Won’t March EP

February 2, 2008

Speaker SpeakerWe Won’t March EP

Burning Building Recordings

An extremely entertaining and well-crafted pop-punk EP.

Speaker Speaker is a pop-punk band out of Seattle, Washington. They have a style somewhere between LA’s Weezer and The Knockdown (Oneonta, New York). Their songs have very catchy instrumental openers that will leave you pressing play over and over again. The work of Colin McBride on lead/rhythm guitar is especially infectious – his leads will play in your head all day long.

So many pop-punk bands that play the club circuits tend to have an uncontrolled rhythm section that usually destroys the musical quality of the sound the band was originally going for. Not only does drummer Jason Samford keep a controlled rhythm, but the beats he produces for Speaker Speaker are very catchy. They will leave you tapping your toes and bobbing your head until your neck hurts. The quick fingers of Danny Oleson on bass guitar drive very steady with the drums. The combination of the two produces a solid rhythm section.

This past April, the band decided after much success from their first EP Again & Again & Again, to put together a new EP entitled We Won’t March.

The first track has the same name as the EP and is nothing short of a 1990s pop-punk masterpiece. The guitar leads off with a catchy melody and builds from there into a strong, yet pleasing lead vocal performance. From start to finish the band is tight with every beat and note.

“Loveland, Colorado” is also well written and well performed. The basslines are particularly impressive with their speed and accuracy, and the group vocals melded well together. “Call it Off” is one of two live tracks on this EP. Despite the fact that it’s live the only part of the sound that suffers in recording quality is the vocals. This, however, is expected on a live recording. The guitar and drums connect throughout the middle of this track to carry the song. It’s a head bobber of a song… dare I say it…. maybe even a mosh-worthy song.

Finally, coming in at the fifth and final slot of the We Won’t March EP is a cover of the Jawbreaker (Baltimore, Maryland) song “Do You Still Hate Me?”. This is a fine track, and it makes Speaker Speaker’s EP an all-around success in pop-punk enjoyment.

The first three tracks alone are reason enough to want a copy of this EP. Out of 5 stars this CD gets a 4.5 from me. Let’s hope for a full album from these guys in the near future.

-Stephen C. O’Riley

Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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