Key Note Speaker – Fiction
By Julia Eaton, The Cranky Ex-punk Housewife
Key Note Speaker has not reached the height of “my favorite band in the world” honors, but I sure do like them. Their songs are simple enough to be catchy and stick in your head, but complex enough to warrant repeated listens, making Fiction the kind of CD in my collection that is going to get a lot of play.
The band members are obviously skilled, talented musicians and I really have no complaints at all with this CD (which says a lot coming from this Cranky Ex-Punk Housewife!). Well, there are a few moments of effect on the vocals on “Smile” that I didn’t like very much, but everything else is so enjoyable I can forgive that strange moment of creativity with the mixing.
On the promo sheet that came with the CD there were references to REM and the Afghan Whigs, and I did hear moments that sounded a bit like both of those bands. What I like most about Key Note Speaker, though, is that I’m not sure I would’ve thought much about those comparisons if I hadn’t just read them a couple minutes before listening to the CD. Sure, there’s a moment where the lyric “Baaaaaby” on “Tomorrow” sounds for a split second like Greg Dulli in the song “Fountain and Fairfax,” from the band’s Gentelmen, but then I’m also convinced that Stone Gossard unconsciously used a guitar riff from the song “She Ran Calling Wildfire” by Michael Martin Murphy in the Pearl Jam song “Yellow Ledbetter,” so it must not be uncommon for that to happen.
Playing live, Key Note Speaker is also an impressive new local band. I saw them at the Sunset and despite a sound engineer who apparently was not paying much attention, their talent was still apparent. It was a good show too, set up by the lead singer, Scott Gallagher. The Upskirts were fun and poppy (with a very hot drummer) while Twink the Wonderkid were loud, obnoxious and fun. Unfortunately, I was tired and didn’t stay for Charity Stripe. My only complaint with Key Note Speaker’s live performance is that Scott’s attempts at humor between songs didn’t seem necessary. I got the sense that he felt he should act a certain way on stage that seemed forced. My advice to them is let your music speak for you. If you just introduce yourself and play that’s enough right there. After that just be yourself on stage – your music is good enough to carry your far beyond you attempts at witty between-song banter. – (8/10)