Review: Poema Offer Melodic Perfection on New EP “Pretty Speeches”

Pretty Speeches - Poema

Our Rating

RIYL: Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Norah Jones, Oh Wonder

Sisters Elle and Shealeen Puckett (a.k.a. Poema) are easily the best thing to have come out of Albuquerque, New Mexico in the last fifty years. The Nashville-based singer-songwriter duo make sweet, R&B-tinged soft rock spiced with a southern flare. Their new Pretty Speeches EP, released on July 10 (the first “New Music Friday”), reaffirms their unbelievable talent. Smooth vocal harmonies swell as warbly keyboards mix with twangy electric, reverb-laden acoustic, and fuzzy jazz guitars to create a balanced sound unlike anything released in the past two decades.

Listen: “Pretty Speeches” (EP) – Poema

 

Pretty Speeches offers a masterful display of harmony, melody, and instrumentation. The Puckett sisters’ EP is perhaps the most unique and important twenty minutes of music released this week: Sweet, vibrant tones reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac and Norah Jones herald the revival of a jazzy singer-songwriter sound seldom seen these days. Poema blend the barriers of singer-songwriter, rock, country, and pop; songs like “Get to Me” and “Forget You in LA” glow with a Top 40 quality, and one can only hope that this once-signed, currently independent band make their way onto the radio. You just don’t find music this good anymore.

You get to me
You’re under my skin, but darling
It’s not always easy
But you’re the only one that gets to me

Pretty Speeches - PoemaWhat is it about pedal steel that makes a song seem so forlorn or laid back? How can a single vocal line evoke different emotions upon multiple repetitions? “Go Away,” the EP’s opener, contains a grit behind the smooth guitar-infused R&B. The Puckett sisters’ vocal cadence is so colorful, it’s almost like they’re rapping. Poema’s eye for a catchy melody goes unmatched among today’s music, and they have the vocal talent to be clever than most with their flow.

Poema’s honest and humble lyrical diversity is as striking as their musicality. They keep it real; their heartfelt oeuvre tells stories of past flames, current loves, and future adventures. Consider the charmed innocence of “Enough Messing Around”:

Enough messing around
no more guessing; let’s be real now
I said enough messing around
I won’t get hung up on the singing out
You play cool too well
You’re charming, but not very nice
And I can’t, no I can’t undersell
I fall for it every time

Theirs is the kind of music you want to have playing at your soirees. The music is passionate and easy to listen to, but it’s when you catch onto Poema’s lyrical beauty that you truly fall for them.

Watch: “Forget You In LA” – Poema

I don’t know how I’m supposed to hate you
‘Cause I forget how you did me wrong
When you are around, I don’t think I can avoid you
Still I tell my friends I have moved on

So maybe I’ll try out the East Coast, too
I could be there in a day
Or maybe I’ll try out the West Coast, too
And I’ll forget you in LA

Poema’s Pretty Speeches EP is brilliantly graceful and heartbreaking, an instant classic that captivates from beginning to end. Ride out the summer months with the Puckett sisters; this is a record you’ll want to keep on repeat.

Poema

:: More about Poema ::

Elle and Shealeen Puckett, sisters born and raised in the American Southwest, comprise the band Poema. The female duo has been playing music ever since they can remember. At ten and twelve, the equal and opposites would walk to the local gas station to play Elvis covers for anyone filling up that day until they made enough money to buy candy.

The sisters have history. They’ve survived a house burning to the ground, countless tours spent sleeping on floors and in parking lots, every manner of car trouble possible and even a record deal coming to an end. After years performing in their hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico, the sisters decided to migrate to a more musical terrain. In 2013, they moved to Nashville, Tennessee.

With a new city comes a fresh sound. “Nashville is a place that sharpens your artistic senses. More than anywhere else, it makes you aware of the flaws in yourself and the areas that need improvement,” says Elle, “For this last collection of songs we gave ourselves complete freedom. No boundaries, no time limits, and nothing to distract ourselves from pulling out the best material we could.” And that’s exactly what they did. On their new five song EP, Poema has ebbed back to their pop roots, slowing it all down with lax guitars and swirly keys to invoke images of swaying palm trees and languid waves. It’s soulful. It’s groovy.

“The last two years in Nashville have had their highs and lows. Days of discouragement, inspiration, excitement and frustration. These songs feel like a culmination of all those days,” says Shealeen. The new songs are mature shift, a changing of the guard, it’s a new horizon. It’s the new Poema.

Learn more about Poema at
poemamusic.com

The Breakdown

Mitch Mosk

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com