Once someone like Bill Ryder-Jones sets a mood, there’s a beauty to seeing them explore it fully. With raw emotions dripping throughout this album and deep, honest tumbles through transformative life moments, Ryder-Jones begs for your intimacy to speak to you. Though this album goes for personal moments over something totally new, Ryder-Jones strikes powerful chords with listeners.
As the swinging guitars open up on “There’s Something On Your Mind” Ryder-Jones tries to bring you into a dancing groove as much as he tries to open up emotionally. All the melodies feed into the song’s pained rhythms, and its slow trickle of feedback and glowing synths transform it into a warm slow-burn of an opener. “Time Will Be The Only Saviour” crawls along with as much bright guitars as it does dread in its bones and lyricism. It’s positive energy in this way ends up coming out of the acceptance it shows towards these feelings as a whole. The ambiance and strange mix of “Recover” sees Ryder-Jones floating in middle of his productions, as he plays a ghostly background to their sound.
“Mither” quickly builds its fiery energy as Ryder-Jones questions his own motivations and reflects on where he’s gone because of his perceptions. While he certainly takes time to push it to its larger ends, he makes a steady habit of evolving his tracks in a bigger and louder fashion in just about every track. Looking at the sombre approach to “And Then There Was You,” Ryder-Jones lets the sparse energy highlight his riffs and make the mounting noise feel all the more present and loud.
Though so much of this shifting-tides writing approach can slowly become predictable, “There Are Worse Things” plays with dynamics to take Ryder-Jones’ already strong penchant for upping the ante and makes it hit hard.
“Don’t Be Scared, I Love You” on the other hand leans into the ambiance of the record and reminds his subject that his intentions are pure. There’s a sense of hopeless loss on “John” as Ryder-Jones sings through the letter to someone who’s no longer where they’re needed. The sense of ambiguity to where John truly is in fact makes the song all the more heartbreaking, as only Ryder-Jones seems to have really known the person behind the name. The album seeps into a calming and relaxing mood-piece as it hits “No One’s Trying To Kill You” tapping into tones of Cigarettes After Sex while bringing a sense of wonder only Ryder-Jones knows how. Though it starts fairly dark and gloomy, “Happy Song” fulfills its own name in its latter half by exploding into solo after grimy solo for a final rip of passionate fury.
Words by Owen Maxwell
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