Matthew Ryan – Matthew Ryan vs. The Silver State

Matthew Ryan
Matthew Ryan vs. The Silver State

For his 11th album in as many years, folk-rocker Matthew Ryan enlisted the help of a band named after the state of Nevada and has produced eleven amicable tracks of American rock n’ roll titled Matthew Ryan vs. The Silver State.

Comparisons to Ryan Adams, Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen cannot be avoided, mostly due to Ryan’s voice and vocal delivery. Just as raspy and passionate, but a bit more subdued, he sounds like a combination of all three. The music is comparable too, as the tunes are decent, yet somewhat routine, American rock with an unadorned, straightforward delivery, relying on the vocals to provide most of the distinctive melodies.

Where Ryan deviates from this however, is taming his gritty rock n’ roll with folk influences by interposing quieter, slower paced moments that are filled with subtle waves of melancholic strings, resulting in a more reflective folk/rock similar to Joseph Arthur and Daniel Lanois. The combination of the excellent recording and the intelligent use of orchestral ambience, all provide a certain warm feeling, which in turn brings a genuine and familiar quality to the music.

The hooks are at once endearing but over time reveal themselves to be more of an exercise in repetition which diminishes their infectiousness. Although the music and vocals compliment each other well, there is not much on Matthew Ryan vs. The Silver State that is daring or new in terms of musical explorations, but the honesty and the understated transcendence of the dreamy guitar parts can be alluring.

But after many cycles through the listening rotation, the appeal starts to wear thin as none of the songs seem to have enough bite to make a lasting impression. But if you like the rock n’ roll of the RIYLs you will definitely enjoy this disc.

Recommended Tracks: “Dulce Et Decorum Est”, “American Dirt” and “They Were Wrong”