Mar 07, 2023
By Caleb Campbell
Photography by Seth McCarroll
Indie rock outfit Plain Speak debuted in 2014 with their full-length record, Foundations. Since then, the band has followed with a series of new singles and an EP, 2018’s Cautionary Animal, as well as a series of line-up shifts. Most recently, longtime bandmate Felix Rodriguez joined the main duo of Dan Pechacek and Ben See, cementing the band as a trio for their forthcoming sophomore LP, Calamity.
Calamity finds the band building further on their style of indie rock bombast, emo confessionals, and layered post rock instrumentals, taking references from the likes of Manchester Orchestra, American Football, and early Death Cab for Cutie. The record also represents an even closer collaborative project for Pechacek and See, who both take lead on the record, fronting five songs each.
The full album is out this week on March 10th, and ahead of the release the band are sharing an early listen to one of the record’s highlights, “Better,” premiering with Under the Radar.
“Better” falls into See’s half of the record, with him both writing the song and taking on lead vocals, yet Pechacek and Rodriguez both put their distinctive mark on the song. Rodriguez and See opens the track with a magnetic drum and bass groove, while Pechacek later coats the track with shimmering layers of guitar, an alluring contrast that steadily builds into the anthemic chorus. The band lock in with effortless creative chemistry, showing off a penchant for soaring pop songwriting, distinctive guitar textures, and hypnotic rhythms.
As See explains of the track, “’Better’ is about finding a state of balance between self-doubt and self-importance. It navigates the inner monologues that persistently pull at your attention to find a path towards something better.”
Pechacek adds, “Plain Speak has had a lot of different lineups, and this song really represents the trio that made this album. At the writing session where Felix and Ben first locked into the drum and bass groove that starts the song, it felt like a new direction, but it became almost a misdirect for a song that shows us in classic form: pop hooks with effected guitars, heavier and more dissonant as we go, until the bottom drops out and leaves only interweaving vocal melodies.”
Check out the track below. Calamity is out everywhere on March 10th.