Hear Here (Playing in Traffic)
Reviewed by Margaret Moser, Fri., Feb. 12, 2010
SpeakHear Here (Playing in Traffic)
R.E.M.'s earliest recording, 1982's Chronic Town EP, revived the truncated platter format successfully during vinyl's last hurrah with punk and disco. The five songs within were dark and different, a bellwether of the changes ahead as the Georgians shaped indie rock's future. Believe it if it feels like Austin quartet Speak's first recording is just as poised to change the musical landscape cultivated by the latest crop of young homegrown talent. In five songs, Speak dusts off irresistibly familiar pop-rock turf on the New Wavey "Carrie (Mindful)" and in the 1970s falsetto stylings of "Stand by Us." The fresh and engaging Britpop inflections of "Louder" and "Foreign Love" are traded for electronic pulse to Troupe Gammage's neo-Beach Boys vocals of the group's show-stopping, radio-ready "I'd Rather Lie." If the new paradigm of music is putting out what you have when you have it, crank up the volume: The future just got a lot brighter.