The Roches

Speak

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

While just about every critic and fan has a favorite Roches album that was inexplicably ignored, most will probably agree that Speak was the one that really should have gone gold. All of the ingredients for a huge album are here: emotional yet accessible songs, radio-friendly folk-pop arrangements, and the sisters' usual mind-blowing vocal pyrotechnics. True, the title cut does have harmonies and cadences that are more typical of Bulgarian music, but much of the rest of this album is radio-ready. "Big Nuthin" and "Person With a Past" are two obvious hits, but there are plenty more; in fact, this album doesn't have a dud track from end to end. Sure, fans of their early work will find "I Love My Mom" a bit too conventional and poppy, but heck, if you can't get a bit schmaltzy on a song to your mom, something's wrong with the world. Those who love the Roches' trademark bizarre wordplay and telepathic harmonies can focus on the avant-garde a cappella of "The Anti-Sex Backlash of the 80s" -- and with a title like that how can you resist? The jazzy backups are well handled and subtle throughout the album, and it's a classic. Alas, like all Roches albums it was critically acclaimed but ignored by the public.

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