When I first heard the master tracks from Itai Faierman’s latest band, Speaker in Reverse, I was afraid to ask who was handling the vocals, lest I offend. You’d think I’d know his voice after having followed his career for the past dozen years, but no. Later, by phone, he tells me I wasn’t alone. “The response to the music has been great,” he says. Agreed; the band is solid, and the songs are engaging. “But people ask me, ‘Who’s that singing?’” Then again, Faierman’s been introducing new manifestations of himself to local audiences for a long while now. His music has ranged ever-upward in complexity from Jeff Buckley-ish acoustic work at open-mic shows to electric art noise to clever indie pop with a trio called the Mashtis.
Faierman’s new music is a separation from all that, even from his last band, the Bulletins. For one, it’s more user-friendly than ever. “I wanted to create something with added movement to it,” he says, “so people could dance to it. In the past, my music’s been more about what I want. This is more about connecting with an audience. It’s more about what they want.”
- Thursday, August 7, 2014, 8 p.m.
1863 Fifth Avenue,
For Speaker in Reverse, Faierman says he needed to make himself uncomfortable. “I bought a whole bunch of instruments I have no idea how to use,” he laughs, “keyboards and synthesizers, and I said, ‘Let’s make music.’” The Bulletins were the turning point: “For once, I wasn’t singing or fronting.” He was the guitar player, and he broke it down to a fine note-by-note focus. “When I got out of that group, I said, ‘What do I do next?’” Go bigger was the eventual answer. “For the first time,” he says, “I’ve got a six-member band.” There’s a smile in his voice when he says this. At least I can recognize that.