Lee's Listening Stack - Matthew Ryan - 'I Recall Standing As Though Nothing Could Fall'
I Recall Standing As Though Nothing Could Fall
There are some artists who will likely never concede an upward glance, no many how much sentiment they betray or what circumstances contribute to their muse. The examples are obvious – artists like Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, Jeff Buckley and Tom Waits have made those low-cast designs such an intrinsic part of their signature sound that any hint of optimism might seem wholly out of character. Over the course of his dozen albums, Matthew Ryan has more or less followed suit, offering darkly-lit ruminations fused to a pensive perspective. Haunting and bewitching, the music is so consistently somber it often makes many of those aforementioned artists sound absolutely giddy by comparison.
Of course, Ryan isn’t nearly as well known as those kindred spirits, but his twilight templates have established him as a foremost purveyor of downcast deliberation. An insightful artist with an intuitive ability to convey mood and emotion, he writes dirge-like melodies that hang like a shroud, each draped in a dense atmospheric overlay. In that regard, I Recall Standing As Though Nothing Could Fall varies little from that conceit. Yet, as a haunting, eerily beautiful dissertation on the troubles that afflict mere mortals in this troubled world, it’s unerringly affecting, not to mention both beautiful and beguiling.
Despite any initial optimism that the title might suggest, I Recall Standing As Though Nothing Could Fall’s haunting dissertation on romance and mortality mostly dispels any notion that glee will prevail over gloom. The ambiance is all encompassing, propelled by skittish tempos and scant piano, Ryan’s languid vocals draped in desperation and despair. His slur and sprawl in “Harmonium Song” and the ominous elasticity that informs his singing on “I Don’t Want a Third World War” only heighten that sense of urgency and intrigue. “My darker side has come to this,” he moans on “My Darker Side,” a song well suited as a potential signature song. In truth, that darker demeanor arrived awhile ago. I Recall Standing As Though Nothing Could Fall merely confirms it’s here to stay. – Lee Zimmerman
Lee Zimmerman is a contributor to a variety of publications, including Blurt, M Music & Musicians, New Times, Goldmine and Amplifier
This review appears courtesy of Amplifier, 50,000 Watts of Non-Stop Indie Rock http://amplifiermagazine.blogspot.com/