I have been waiting for this. Speech Patterns from Jacksonville, Florida have wooed us with their alternative rock since 2016, offering up potent tastes of their sound with singles of “Numb”, “Déjà Vu” and most recently “Relapse”.
Nearly a year later, the (now) three piece of Eric Suarez (vocals & guitar), Brandon Sandoval (bass) and Daniel Potenza (drums) have shared their EP Without A Sound. In usual Depth style, we went track-by-track and immersed into the album.
“Didn’t Need A Reason” is first on Without A Sound. Its smooth ambience at the introduction creates an image of darkness and sensuality, a liquid pool of intimacy. Yet it ominously unfolds into something else. When crashing drums and determined riffs kick in, the vocal focus seems to present that same darkness as isolating. It becomes apparent that this protagonist has been replaced, and someone walked away from him and the sweetness of intimacy he felt, leaving him crying out to be heard.
“Feels like you left me out so you could let them in”
He seems to be haunted by the experience and yet also aware of the reality of not fitting into her world, and is left confused and on the outer by the other’s selfishness. The hugeness of sound and sky-bound desperation hits powerfully when the reason for his being ousted becomes apparent: ‘you needed something more’. This is 4:33 of a disappointed heart. It’s beautifully done and a powerful start to the EP.
“High Regard” is second on the EP and feels more complex musically, reflecting a state of overwhelm. This person they’re speaking about is not taking responsibility and not owning up to the reality of the situation, establishing a comfortable seat on their high horse instead of connecting human-to-human.
“You wanted more than you could afford”
Heaviness and fire with sick breakdowns match the resentment felt. Vocals easily move from pure and clear to aggressive and in-your-f*cking-face, showing Eric’s impressive capabilities as a vocalist. There is belief in time sorting things out, with the truth being revealed and the veil being lifted. Echoed vocals over drums are like peering into the person’s soul as the track closes.
“Deja Vu” takes us to the ocean, swimming in ‘what could have been’ relationship-wise, with waves of memory washing over us, stuck on repeat without escape. Gentle vocals and relaxed rock drop us into acknowledgements, but deception is apparent and the expression grows into confrontation. It seems like one moment led to the undoing of the relationship, leaving an aftermath of hurt and broken promises.
“I left it all for you
But if it wasn’t enough for you, baby
Well why didn’t you just come out and say it?”
The bridge is a heavenly escape into the weightlessness of memory (“You’re just a memory”), before crashing down in reality (“Remember when you said ‘I’ll never let you down'”). The repeated vocal takes on a feeling like a stuck thought despite its beauty, and breaking free of it by demanding “Say it to my face!”.
Even though “Numb” was released as a single last year, the release of Without A Sound sparked a reignited obsession for me with this beautiful song. It is perfection, skillfully blending crashing franticness with tenderness and vulnerability.
The person telling the story of “Numb” is trying to get through the noise of unrequited love leaving them stuck in an unfeeling state for their own sanity. But it becomes apparent that they’re struggling, and seeking so much more. ‘Faithful envy’ pokes like a knife; this unwavering experience of what they can’t have, and a dedication of themselves to another that is not theirs.
“Maybe someday, you’ll be with me
Until then I’ll numb the pain
Sweet serenity, don’t forget me
All in due time”
“Numb” is poetic lyrics and an angelic voice screaming out into the infinite universe for aliveness. “Numb” is also burning agony and sandpapered screams, with irreversible actions being felt like a punch to the guts. There aren’t really enough words for this one, and it’s easy to see how the two lead singles from the band already gained them a strong following.
Though clear, careful, and flowing, the vocals of “Relapse” still hold the frustration with another for making the choices they have, leading to consequences they’re needing to face, without blaming others. “Relapse” is earth shaking pulses and drumming, sharp electronic edges, and confrontational guitars. It is presenting uncomfortable truths to another, and making a statement of “I’m out. You’re on your own”.
“Your words fleet so carelessly
That’s not the way it’s supposed to be
Well, your poison, it lacks substance
But it’s enough to get you high”
To me “Relapse” is about someone losing themselves to drugs and stubbornly holding up a facade of themselves. It is about wanting them to instead own up to their reality and break free of the situation they’re in, because the help that they’ve been given doesn’t seem to be doing anything.
Again the dynamic of sound, most obviously observed with the vocals, is impressive and captures calm concern and acknowledgement, and grows through to powerful streams of fury.
“Disappear” broke me, and continues to break me on each listen. I don’t know if that will wear off. It is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard and requires multiple listens in peaceful surroundings. Drift into the heartfelt fondness and well wishes that stream out with heart-thumping drums.
“Dream on without a sound
It’s been a long time coming”
“Disappear” builds as the song progresses and is heart-burstingly climactic. It combines stadium-filling anthemic forces with ethereal and orchestral delicateness, powerfully feeling like a tribute in honour of a lost loved one. The fact that the album title comes from this track may reflect a dedication also. Eric’s vocals (“only the good die young”) are haunting as they echo out through a wall of sound, feeling like a farewell to someone good and a desire to reach them.
The final track on Without A Sound “One and the Same” feels like the next chapter of “Numb”: They have waited and finally time has given them someone to find their home with. Or they are hoping so. The track is an admission of their humanness and who they are, and how they still will do their best to give everything that they can to this other that has seemed to complete them.
“Well I just wanna make you levitate
I just want you to take my breath away
Complete the frame with the piece I found in you”
The delicate melody playing out in the background feels like the sweet pangs of love swirling through, while strong rock and searching vocals capture a vibe of ‘Please let this work’. Guitars shine as promises are given toward this establishing oneness, even though they don’t believe they deserve their new lover.
What a debut and a half. Speech Patterns are clearly deliberate and methodical in the music they make, pouring attention to detail into each element. Perhaps this perfectionism is part of why their fans have needed to exercise patience.
Without A Sound is 100% worth the wait, with this collection of seven polished tracks that inspired goosebumps, heart contortions, and aliveness. Stream Without A Sound now via Spotify and connect with Speech Patterns via Facebook or Twitter.
Sonic perfection, a showcase of sky shattering vocals and strong rock. Polished while also feeling genuine and emotion-inspiring. So beautiful!
7 tracks is not enough! I would also have loved some more uncontained rawness and ass-kicking rock in amongst the polished beauty. So very keen to see what Speech Patterns do next.