So To Speak
Regaining The Percent Of Zero

by Samuel Barker
February 6, 2001

File Under: indie pop
rating: C

1. ides of march

2. scattered through april

3. now and then

4. dust in the fingerprints

5. broken moments

6. playing dead

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  • So To Speak
  • As anyone who knows me is aware of, I love nothing more than listening to independently made and released music. This album was sent to me by a promising band called So To Speak. They have a great sound musically and hopefully with the help of a producer and better recording techniques they could produce a wonderful album. I was totally drawn in by the tightness of the music and how well it was mixed, but this was hurt by the poorly mixed vocals.

    The album begins with "Ides Of March". The music can only be described as downer rock. Lots of arpeggiated chords, strong bass lines, and the use of minor chords(or at least it sounds like minor chords). The downset of this song is the annoyance of a recording of a man talking about his infactuation with his girlfriend being played and rewound, then played again. It got too repetitive and lost it's meaning. "Scattered Through April" is the first real song of the album. Once again the music is great. I was so drawn in by the sound of the music, then the vocals came in. You got the feeling the music was recorded and mixed before the vocals were recorded. They were way to high and sounded out of key. During the overdriven areas the music was kept down to low to blend with the vocals.

    "Now And Then" opened wonderfully with the arpeggiated chords, but the vocals once again weren't blended in well, and ultimately made it difficult to pay attention to the music. The keyboard on the songs was brilliantly done. It added the feel of an orchestra. "Dust In Fingerprints" keeps with the great keyboard playing, but once again gets overshadowed by the out of key lead vocals and the out of step backup vocals. The song had some great musical transitions, but was killed by the poor vocals. "Broken Moment" was great. Finally the level of the vocals dropped and blended in with the music. Great easy feel to the song. The addition of the female vocals made for a great harmony. "Playing Dead" comes at you with a strong distorted sound. The male vocals are right on with this track, but the female vocals are painfully flat. This song follows the story of most of the album, wonderful music but bad vocal mix.

    If you get a chance to hear this band I urge you to do it. This band is made up of some good musicians and songwriters. The mix of this album may have been off, but you will be hard pressed to find an independently produced album that is mixed perfectly. In the future a lower vocal level and more work on keeping the vocals in key would make for a wonderful album. With the strong songwriting and tight musicianship this band is almost to where it wants to be. I don't think it will be long before it gets somewhere if it keeps working.

    Samuel Barker is Senior Editor. Contact him at

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