With their hearts on their sleeves, Spoken take an eighth studio venture to prove that screaming your lungs out can cure pretty much any emotional trauma, just remember to ’Breathe Again’.
Spoken have never been the most stable of line-ups, but that doesn’t suggest a flaw in talent, as 2015’s chapter to their colourful story proves. Now a triplet of finely-tuned artists endeavouring to provide a soundtrack to heartache, their history now spans two decades and not one iota of ‘Breathe Again’ suggests they’re done any time soon.
Opening on the aggressive polarity of ‘Walking In My Dreams’, vocalist Matt Baird immediately brings his storming anguished lyrics to life crying, “I’m afraid to fall asleep cos you’ll be waiting for me.” His range reaches near impossible highs, particularly while ‘Beyond The Stars’ bursts with passionate rhythm.
To a menacing techy groove, ‘Surrender’ emerges as somewhat repetitive, but at least it’s clear in its aims to provide strength in numbers. Meanwhile, the title track plunges into a darkly intense tone, inquisitive and driven by determined fretwork and a guest spot from Memphis May Fire’s Matty Mullins, while ‘Hollow And Untrue’s sombre tones descend into half-hearted venom before long, accompanied by screams echoing classic 30 Seconds To Mars and a priceless noodling solo to boot.
An ethereal fight for desire, ‘Memories Are Alive’ contains beautiful heartfelt pleas amid a seductive, reflective lull to reinforce the melodic despair and lighter-waving heartache of ‘Nothing Without You’. “I will let you down, don’t waste your faith on me,” Matt scolds alongside the inspired solo of ‘Poison In The Air’, while the glistening opening notes of ‘Falling Apart’ soon evolve into a catchy melody fit for their modest 20 year history. With the voluminous backing cries of ‘Hold On’ and the sensual dream state of ‘Take My Breath Away’, it’s fully evident these guys have been around long enough to know how to close an emotional rollercoaster of an album with consummate mastery.
While Matt continues to pour his heart and soul out in front of the mic and Scoop continues to showcase his masterful fretwork, ‘Breathe Again’ is a much-needed continuation of Spoken’s sentimental style with unbelievable energy after all these years.
’Breathe Again’ by Spoken is out now.
Words by Ali Cooper (@AliZombie_)