Proud and prissy, Speaker smolders like an American counterpart to Suede, but such a favorable comparison might not be that revelatory or, for that matter, relevant. Whereas Suede wishes to plunder the gender status quo, the glam-friendly Speaker evidently wants to plunder your bank accounts, unabashedly offering Orizaba up for immediate approval and consumption. And that’s not just a result of the occasional Elvis Costello-isms (particularly on “Cold Hands”) or the flailingly punked-up fervor (see “My Still Remains”) Speaker plays cat ‘n’ mouse with: A considerably more confused, eclectic mix than Suede’s, Speaker now and then knocks on the doors of folk, reggae, smooth jazz, and ’70s groove-rock. But I’ll be damned if Speaker doesn’t possess a sterling sense of soaring melody, which, in that light, makes the band’s commercial aspirations all the more plausible. So when they’re selling records faster than you throw this newspaper away, don’t say I didn’t say so first.
Capricorn Records, 2205 State Street, Nashville, TN 37203