by John Callon
“Hey!” she gasped at my sleeve as she jogged to keep up, “You walk too fast!”
I sometimes forgot that I was six inches taller than her and fleet-footed, which meant that for every mile I walked at my own natural pace, she could only walk 4,785 feet at hers. These calculations are sketchy at best, but I’m writing under the assumption that no one in the School of Mathematics will read this lousy review anyway.
Pop music, bless its heart, is very often that long-legged walking partner that pulls us along with absentminded swiftness. It hooks us quickly and then drags us through Verse, Chorus, Verse, back to the Chorus, and then once more for good measure; not allowing us much time to linger lest we realize the quality of the songwriting, or lack thereof.
Speaking Suns’ latest EP, “Part One,” is much more mindful of its audience. Each of the five spacious tracks, though catchy, let the listener ease into them at their own leisure. The soulful hooks are present, brilliant in fact, but they’re not jumping out at you before you’re ready for them. Nor is any one instrument favored over another. The band plays together with the efficiency and harmony of a beehive, complemented by such mantra-like lines as “I’m unable to find a deeper meaning, it’s an easy feeling.” From the ghostly strut of “Hollow” to the blissed-out buzz of “Something’s Happening,” this is a batch of songs that, given the opportunity, will roam the hills and valleys of your headspace for days.
The standout track is “Evening Exits,” which starts simply, the light fading behind the hill. The song stoops to gather a fallen leaf for your collection, and then it takes you by the arm, pulls you close, and whispers softly in your ear “The world it just spins, it seems, for nothing.” Every cymbal crash brushes the hair from your eyes. The warm chime of guitars is a sloppy, wet kiss on your cheek. From a nearby tree, you hear the odd warble of the farfisa organ – an interesting specimen. You approach slowly for a closer look, but it flutters over your head and into the shimmering chorus. But never fear! The song contains many lush “Ooos” and “Sha-na-na-na”s, as any good pop song should. In another time or place, this would have been the next big hit for Diana Ross & the Supremes.
When you slow down to have a conversation with someone, you run the risk of making a spectacularly dull fool of yourself, as usually seems to be the case for me. Luckily, though, Speaking Suns are all charm. They have something to say, something you want to hear. They’re just what you need, baby.