My Mouth Is The Speaker (aside from being a Saves The Day reference) is a five-piece indie/alternative-rock band from Akron, Ohio. Even if they are mostly unheard of and their full-length Landmarks was released a year and a half ago, that does not mean that they are not worthy of praise today. The band’s debut fell under the radar and it is a damn shame. Landmarks is packed with beautifully composed guitars, edgy lyrics and exceptional usage of mid-range vocals. Every song contains something new to enjoy even after multiple listens and there is nothing more refreshing than discovering something different after each listen to a track.
One of my favorite things about this album is how subtly complex every song is. The best part about Landmarks is easily the creative guitar work of Max Eger and Daniel Palmentara. The winding emo riffs that lace through the album never lose their consistency and intertwine with the delightfully ambient keys of Brandon Gardner, expertly enough that the band could pass as an enjoyable instrumental act. The constant battle between the layered guitars backed by the bouncy blips and bloops of the keys add a certain unexpectedness to the record and cleanly distribute everything that needs to be known about My Mouth Is The Speaker.
Even though the instrumentation is spectacular throughout the entirety of Landmarks, one must give credit where it is due. Palmentara’s gritty voice is stylistically comparable to Nic Newsham of Gatsby’s American Dream or Kurt Travis of A Lot Like Birds, and his vocals are the perfect complement to the music. It is a rare opportunity to hear a man who has perfect control over the way he sings, but Palmentara does so with ease. Never over-stylizing, he knows exactly when it is appropriate to give it all he has (see “Striking Gold (In the Old West)”) and never takes his voice for granted. As he chillingly belts “I’ll let you know/I’ll let you know/If I ever strike gold/And I know/That feeling will never go/It will never get old” in the aforementioned song, this talent is as clear as the post-rocky outro that ends the track.
Lyrically, Palmentara enjoys using a certain bite comparable to Max Bemis. Lines like “Do you believe we can live vicariously through song?” and “Your life quilt-like, but does that blanket keep you warm?” maybe aren’t as tongue-in-cheek as the Say Anything singer, but they still resemble the same intention of angst and hopelessness that remain consistent throughout the record.
Though I get my fix from similar yet better-known bands, My Mouth Is The Speaker reminds me to root for the little guy. No matter how big the tour or sales numbers, sometimes the underdog can shine just as bright as its big label genre-mates.