- Article by: Derek Medeiros
- Posted: 08/09/2011
Indie veteran and ambient/folk rocker Matthew Ryan is all at once soft-spoken and extraordinarily strong in his songwriting and performance. On his new record, I Recall Standing As Though Nothing Could Fall (July 26, 2011), Ryan draws his listeners in with his distinctive, almost whispering vocals and creative lyricism.
The album spins like one you would listen to late at night just before turning out the lights. The first track, titled “The Sea,” paints the picture of a lost soul searching for his lost love. The gut-wrenching metaphorical tale captures the same emotions a sailor yearning for his homeland might face:
“You disappeared like you always did/ It made me sad/ It made me sick.” A poetic innovator at heart, Ryan writes songs that don’t follow the typical songwriting pattern. Many don’t even include a chorus and read much more like poems than song lyrics. While his style is somewhat refreshing in a sea of structured, often too predictable songs, it also results in this record losing a bit of its memorability, as the songs seem to blend into one another.
In the delivery of this set of songs, Ryan seems to be focusing on the individual, almost as though he’s playing to an audience of one – just one person in his or her living room. It’s this aura that makes the album enticing, though it has an extremely dark and brooding side ringing throughout.
On the whole, I Recall Standing As Though Nothing Could Fall does delve into dark places and hold you there longer than you might be comfortable. But, then again, Ryan throws in slight tinges of hope that, while still somewhat dismal, are appreciated in the moment. In the seventh track, “All Of That Means Nothing Now,” Ryan sings, “We stood outside the supermarket/ Such a strange cold place/ For such a sad sad thing/ And we weren’t talking/ Your eyes were frozen.”
And when it seems he’s at the end of the dismal rope in a tale of broken relationship, he brings in a single speck of heartbreaking light: “But you looked so pretty love/ You were still my favorite thing.”
Although painfully poignant at points, this record also offers standouts such as the almost hip-hop “I Want Peace” and the upbeat closer “All Hail The King Of Trash.” This album is available for digital download at matthewryan.bandcamp.com/releases for only $5.
"The is the Hill" - Matthew Ryan