Haunting, ethereal, and immersive. These are words that could embody the spectrum of descriptors, when contemplating the captivating qualities within the sounds created by alternative bedroom/dreampop artist, speakeazie, who is based out of Minneapolis, MN. Her voice is without a doubt the strongest instrument in her sonic aesthetic. At once poignant and airy enough to drift for miles, and simultaneously moody and sultry enough, to drag you down her emotional rabbit hole, speakeazie’s voice creates rays of sound that establish themselves as the focal point of every song she bestows herself upon. Immediate intimacy and aural appeal is quickly discernible throughout listening to her EP “Bootlegger Blood”.
speakeazie floats her otherworldly vocal across the dreamy thumping haze of instrumentation on the opening track “I’m A Wreck, Not A Queen”. Rich in nuance, her voice is a breathy, flowing breeze of conversational melody and introspective poetics. Simple, delicate and yet rhythmic in nature, the song is executed with the trademark emotional depth demonstrated throughout the record. Carving out her lane, speakeazie does not feel the pressure of her peers or major labels, and it shows in the music.
speakeazie lets her vocals ring with authenticity on “Ain’t Right For Your Praise”, shading them between subtle warmth and sighing soulfulness. Everything is given a little bit more vibrancy and weight, as the song plays out to its greatest benefit – speakeazie’s croon which is in peak form. The twisting instrumentation and skittering percussion beneath her, floating at just the right level and pace, to keep everything in perpetual, hypnotic momentum.
speakeazie’s mesmerizing swoon, dominates everything it touches without seeming even to try. It slips exquisitely through the ebb and flow of the synth waves, and gently thrusting drums on “Don’t Go Anywhere”. The song moves steadfastly forward, like an unfolding storybook, while speakeazie’s voice is sweet, fragile and fragrant, gently pulling you into her world. As ever, the track coalesces around that voice, and its potent conjuring of mood and deep sentiments.
The gentle wall of sound grows louder and stronger on “I’m Crushed In His Haze”, as it affronts the contrasts of love. The busier backdrop underscores a truly spellbinding vocal performance from speakeazie. Rarely given to histrionics, she lets the words and the nuances of her voice do the work. In fact, there is so much tied up in speakeazie’s performance, as she moves between spoken word lines and melodic crooning, both of which evoke a remarkable palette of emotions.
“They Whisper Voodoo” is a four-and-a-half-minute slow-burning mind-trip, full of rotating synths and slapping drums. It starts slowly and hauntingly, steadily creating a mood of contemplation and wonder, where speakeazie’s talent remains captivating, piercing your subconscious. Swaths of ambience drip from varied corners of the song, as it builds towards a tangible beat. This is speakeazie at her mood-inducing best.
All throughout the “Bootlegger Blood” EP, speakeazie’s voice is as gorgeous as can be expected. She finds a common ground between pain, passion, desire, and bittersweet melancholy with a mesmerizing mixture of her own multi-tracked vocals and layers of synths. When speakeazie fuses her electronic sounds with her grand sense of understated drama she wields so perfectly, she ends up with the breathtaking songs we are able to listen to here.