|Key Note Speaker
by Daniel Beer
If alarms of familiarity blare in your head while listening to Key Note Speaker, chances are you're an occasional patron to Starbucks. The songs "Breaking Down" and "Trouble" found themselves on regular rotation on Starbucks' in-store radio in 2004 when the band (then known as Coriander) were discovered by Starbucks Music Executive Timothy Jones. Having only formed in 2003, Key Note Speaker stands ready to present us their debut album fiction.
Listening to Scott Gallagher's voice on "Monday Morning" and "In The Air," I can't help but notice the apparent influence of R.E.M., possessing the same ability of Michael Stipe to tease your emotions and provoke buried memories. Throughout fiction there is an overwhelming stab of comfort with Dandy Warhols-esque melodies thanks to Gallagher's guitar and the keys of Chris Olson. The album ties together with the highly enchanting rhythms thanks to Joe Couden and Ed O'Brien, heard best on "Tomorrow."
One track that stands out as rather incongruous, yet fitting, with the others is "Pretty," by far the most emotional (and angry) song on the album. Pay close attention to guest appearances from Jen Wood (The Postal Service) on "In The Air" and Brent Arnold (Built to Spill, Modest Mouse) playing cello on "Goodnight" and "Smile."
Key Note Speaker proves they are not another bland pop-rock band destined to a short life on the airwaves of college radio.Take warning, however, with each spin of fiction, the album infects your mind a little bit more. Key Note Speaker plays familiar music that simultaneously feels alien to your ears; definitely not another formula band.