Dear Lover
Dear Future Collective 001
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I’ve been hearing the name of former A & M recording artist Matthew Ryan for several years, thus I was looking forward to his latest release. Now I’ve had a taste and I can’t say that I hunger for more. Ryan has a gravely voice—mildly reminiscent of John Mellencamp—and he pushes it to its limits. The latter effect, at least on Dear Lover, has the effect of robbing his character- and situation-filled narratives of much of their impact. So too does the trippy, trance-like tunes in which he wraps them. “City Life,” for instance, is framed in spacey tones and propulsive rave-like beats. It would work better as the backdrop for a sci-fi film score than as commentary on urban grit. In fact, much of the music is centered on tonal soundscaping and sustained chords in which melodic structures are pushed into the bottom of a thick aural soup. I mostly liked his sparser songs, such as the folky “The World Is.” Oddly enough, the songs that had the least going on are the ones that most engage the listener; they are, simply, more approachable. Ryan has made a dozen records in a very short period of time and perhaps it’s time to slow down and work on tunes more suitable for planet Earth.

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