The Speed of Sound in Seawater – Underwater Tell Each Other Secrets

3 out of 5

Label: (self-released)

Produced by: Robert Cheek

Wiggly, squiggly, math-y indie rock, but with enough restraint to prevent it from getting too wonky, and occasional dips into damn good riffage to warrant giving it another spin.  The Speed of Sound in Seawater, during their relatively short tenure, kicked out some yearly EPs of complex guitars / bass / drum twiddling, lead singer Damien Verrett’s sweet croon an interesting parallel or juxtaposition to the jazzy, time-changing noodling, given an occasional punkish edge with gang vocals and some willingness to rock out.  Any given 3-4 minute track was generally a combination of impressively skilled playing – sharp and exacting, but loose enough to never feel showy – with every other song or so culminating in some kind of notably explosive conclusion.  You’ll hear notes of your favorite proggy, math-y bands – 31knots’ early complexity and Wicked Farleys’ combination of pretty vocals with harsh rock come to mind for me – but it’s difficult to discern an element that exactly makes Speed of Sound unique, even if their exact expression of the genre, picked and chosen as it is from other sources, is done with confidence.  Verrett’s lyrics are generally too vague to make much of an impression, or when he lands on a relatable image or concept, he tends to repeat it for all its worth; you don’t end up singing along with words that resonate so much as humming along with how the singing adds to the melody.

I haven’t said much specifically about Underwater Tell Each Other Secrets, the group’s third EP set, because the same concepts apply there that would seem to on their previous albums.  Any song on the three are fairly interchangeable, both intra-EP and across the EPs.  Because the tunes and pace are constantly shifting, this doesn’t mean the music gets boring – it’s very melodious, very listenable – just that it’s not particularly memorable.