Pedals, the sophomore record from Speak, drops next week. Last night, the Austinquartet took to the Rough Trade stage to give fans a taste of what they can expect. Being a music journalist has its perks; I've had the album for a few weeks now. Pedals is moodier than its poppy predecessor, I Believe in Everything. The LP has a strong electronic bent, and I was skeptical as to how it would translate to the stage. My worries vanished immediately as Speak sprang into "Mystery Lights." The cymbals crashed. The drums thundered. The guitars crunched. They played like they wanted to be there, imbuing "Peaks" and "Heavy Metal War" with a spunky energy. The only giveaway that the songs were new was the absence of the audience singing along, the crowd maintaining a respectful attention usually reserved for more familiar material. After a tease of James Blake's "The Wilhelm Scream," drummer Jake Stewart clacked his sticks together and they sailed into "Falling" by Haim. Singing backup together and sporting eyeglasses, matching haircuts, and identical black outfits, there was no reason to think Nick Hurt and Joey Delahoussaye couldn't be brothers. "This one's ours," said lead singer Troupe Gammage, grabbing a guitar for the hooks-for-days single, "Be Reasonable, Diane." Gammage picked up a bass for "I Should've Guessed," Speak's collaboration with RAC. The tune's digging bassline struck a chord with the crowd, turning the first few rows into a dance party. They wrapped things up with album's opening track "Gates," finishing it off with a chunky coda. My only criticism was that the set was too short, which could've been remedied by not allowing Australia's awful Vampire Weekend copycat, the Griswolds, to play. Then they might've had time for few songs from I Believe in Everything.
SPEAK - 06.18.14 - ROUGH TRADE NYC (29 minutes)
Mystery Lights / Peaks / Heavy Metal War / The Wilhelm Scream (tease) > Falling / Be Reasonable, Diane / I Should've Guessed / Gates