Over the past couple of months on this site, I’ve written a bit about the Oklahoma City, OK-based indie rock/psych rock quartet SPACE4LEASE — and as you may recall, the band, comprised of primary songwriter and founding member Grayson Hamm (keys, lead vocals), along with Walt Blythe (guitar), Brandon Brewer (bass, vocals) and Wes Belk (drums), can trace their origins to when Hamm, Blythe, Brewer and Belk met while they were all attending the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma.
Although each member comes from a vastly different musical background and influences, their sound manages to be a seamless convergence of their influences including Tame Impala, My Morning Jacket, Big Thief, Andy Shauf and others, while thematically their material focuses on lost love, heartbreak, the unknown and inevitable life experiences.
With the release of their debut EP Hiraeth, an effort that focused on the complicated process of self-discovery, the members of the Oklahoma City-based quartet toured extensively across the Midwest last year, eventually winning the praise of The Flaming Lips‘ Derek Brown, who described them as “Fellow Okies that wonderfully mix the blissfulness and melancholy of the great wide open.” Building upon the buzz the members of Space4Lease have released a batch of singles off their forthcoming EP Drifting: “Must Be Something” one of the first singles I wrote about, was a lush single reminiscent of JOVM mainstays Caveman, Los Angeles-based indie rock act Hands and others but bristling with a sense of endless possibility that can only come from being on the road, and seeing the world open up before your eyes. “Lately,” struck me as drawing from classic, Quiet Storm-era R&B, blue-eyed soul and indie rock in a way that reminds me of Milagres’ exceptional first two albums Glowing Mouth and Violent Light — and much like the material off of those albums, there’s the push and pull of infatuation, lust, love and heartache at the core of a confusing relationship.
Drifting‘s latest single “I Tried Calling” is a slow-burning track that pairs Hamm’s plaintive vocals paired with a lush and haunting arrangement featuring twinkling keys, guitars fed through a series of atmospheric effects — and much like the preceding singles, it’s a deeply personal song that focuses on the frustrating yet necessary ups and downs of a maintaining a relationship and the lingering ghosts of the person you’re no longer with, and of the relationship that’s over. But what makes the song interesting is that it comes from the perspective of someone, who has a lot more to say to a partner (or ex-partner in the case), who doesn’t seem all that interested in hearing it, and as a result, the song has an underlying bitterness — the bitterness that comes from having a relationship fail and not knowing how or why it happened.