The Speed Of Sound – NEW Single Review

Flying high: The Speed of Sound produce another gem

I will confess – I have soft spot for the Speed of Sound. It’s not just because they are quite wonderful people; it is because they are gifted musicians. After many years together they are still pushing the boundaries. So, with great pleasure I opened the advance copy of the double A side Replicant/The Melancholy Rose.

Replicant is a true gem. A driving swinging acoustic guitar and thumping bass and drums in a catchy tune that enters the ear but immediately makes its way to the feet with the mission of setting them tapping. Ann Marie Crowley’s vocal is sublime, simply beautiful. The sound is rich, warm and strangely hypnotic. Speaking of the song John Armstrong, he of the unique voice and mesmerising guitar skills, offers this explanation:

“While Replicant seems to inhabit the same universe as Blade Runner it also carries another message from the corporate world. Where modern job interviews appear to have evolved into some kind of reverse Voight-Kampff Test; instead of designed to detect replicants, the purpose is to determine if the applicant has unfortunately retained any human characteristics, or will – as hoped – mechanically follow scripts and instructions.”

There is definitely something other worldly about the song. But it is centred where all good songs are – with thoughtful lyrics and catchy melody.

The Melancholy Rose features John Armstrong’s distinctive vocal. He is on top form here – drawing the listener in with that wistful, gentle style that he has mastered. John Broadhurst’s drumming is wonderful, the light fliks on the snare and steady bass drum link perfectly with Kevin Roache’s uplifting bass. They feed on each other.

In conversation John offers the following view of the Melancholy Rose:

“It’s a celebration of the sudden bursting open of summer itself and an invitation to tune out from the background white-noise of civilisation and relax. To exist in the moment and enjoy the things around us.”

Ann Marie’s voice, painting a backdrop of melancholy splendour, soars like the sound of the birds song that accompanies the songs end.

A wonderful postscript is that the recording also features 21-year-old Henry Armstrong, John’s son, on keyboard. A cracking job he does too.

These songs are a joy – do your ears a favour and buy them.

Big Stir Records:

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