• Gloria Tang

Speakeazie New Album 'Bootleggers Blood' is Out

Speakeazie creates woozy, moody pop music. With its female lead vocals, Bootleggers Blood is a five-

song EP that feels how late-night sounds. One gets the feeling Speakeazie wouldn’t be quite as possible, had not Billie Eilish and Lana Del Rey first blazed such an indelible, commercial trail. Like those two artists, the vocals on Bootleggers Blood are often cracked, mostly low key and always downtrodden. This approach is best exemplified by “I’m a Wreck, Not a Queen.” Over a synthesized orchestrated backing, Speakeazie give us the modern-day blues.


Listen to the Album here:



Another influence is downtempo, which is that variety of electronic music known for its atmospheric

sound and slow beats. This album is primarily an electronic project. However, it’s not the sort of

electronic music one finds in typical EDM. This won’t make anyone hyperactive out on the dancefloor.

Instead, it’s the sort of project a DJ may just use to cool down the dance area after a steady flow of

crushing beats.


One titled “They Whisper Voodoo” features multi-layered vocals, which gives it a sort of woebegone

choir sound. There is also a prominent bass line running through it, as well as crashing percussion.

The act’s name and album title are also notable and connected. Although spelled uniquely, the group’s

name is a reference to speakeasys that were popular (although oftentimes well hidden) during

prohibition. These were watering holes where folks could still consume alcohol, even though every

variety of hooch was strictly illegal at the time. As a matter of fact, Speakeazie’s first album was even

titled Prohibition. Furthermore, suppliers of alcohol to these speakeasys were called bootleggers.

Therefore, this outfit’s whole image is based around that historical prohibition period beginning in

January, 1920, and finally ending on December 5, 1933. Thus, Speakeazie exists as some kind of

resistance or other. Just what is being resisted, though, is not exactly clear. Maybe it’s just the whole

rebelliousness of it all that appeals to the act.


There’s still room for songs about love and romance, however. One of these tracks is called “I’m Crushed

in His Gaze.” One imagines this one is about a boy/girl relationship. Certainly, one can feel smitten by

another, just from him looking at you. Lyrically, though, Bootleggers Blood is not filled with a bunch of

clear messages, for the most part. These songs are not as thematically based as is the album title and

group name.


These five songs are best served after dark, preferably also after midnight. It’s the sort of music you play

in your car while driving the lonely streets of a city. It’s solitary music. You won’t throw it on at a party.

You also won’t crank it up to get pumped up to go out to the club. Instead, its music you may want to

put on after a night out. Use it to contemplate the evening. Did it go well? Will you see anyone in

particular again? Are you winning or losing? This is music one can use to soundtrack life’s hard

questions.


Of course, drink is now legal, so you won’t feel like a bootlegger at a speakeasy while playing it. Heck,

even weed is legal in many places. This is music expressly appropriate for life’s more contemplative

moments.


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-Dan MacIntosh