Review by Seth Wood
“I’ve got knots in my hair and knots in my stomach, both thanks to you—but for very different reasons.” This is the kind of lyricism put forth by Ryan Scott Graham on Speak Low if You Speak Love’s Everything But What You Need. His voice comes on like some fallen legend from ancient mythology, groaning on about the fall from grace. Its raspy tone hints at sadness and yet it carries on with confidence and power in the face of it all. Truth be told, I cannot imagine a more ideal voice for an acoustic (sort of) album. Sonically, it just conquers the speakers and makes the audience totally malleable to every poignant lyric he spills throughout the album.
When you are able to take your focus off of the vocals, you notice that the other instruments are doing very interesting things. Subtle changes—a soft synth sound here, some huge thwops on the kick drum there—make it so the album never goes stale. The dynamics serve the same purpose. I was stunned during “Eight Weeks” when Graham took the song to the edge of a cliff and then in a split second took it back down to a silent purgatory as his distressed voice sang “I can’t believe that I’m still letting you bring me down. All my friends say I’m a bummer to be around.” This album simply has everything needed to keep the listener spinning in its magnetism.
The only thing that puts a sour taste in my mouth is that I have no idea who produced it (and trust me, I did my research), because whoever he/she is did an amazing job bringing out the incredible talent and potential inside Ryan Scott Graham.
Listen to "Knots"