perfect fall albums, #1 : matthew ryan

1. Matthew Ryan – Regret Over The Wires

I suppose I’ll just be honest and cop to the fact that the whole reason this guy caught my attention was an article in Uncut this summer that basically described him as the best parts of Ryan Adams, without the temper tantrums.

He came through town in early October, as support for the Turin Brakes. It was a very odd crowd that night at Chop Suey; a mix of the usual scenesters, those you’d expect at a Turin Brakes show, and others that looked like they’d be more at home at a Poi Dog Pondering concert.

The loud Friday night bar chat was stiff competition for Matthew on acoustic guitar, and a lone companion on electric and lap steel. But as the set moved on, the pockets of quiet attention grew, and people began moving closer and closer to the stage. That ain’t an easy thing to do in a support slot on a Friday night.

The echoing, soaring guitar reminded myself and my companion of the best parts of feel of the Edge’s guitar – Joshua Tree and Rattle and Hum eras. Having said that, it came off as anything but derivative. Evocative, with just a tinge of familiarity. You felt like you’d heard some of these songs before – not because they were carbon copies, but because there was this thread of – timelessness – moving through them.

The album, Regret Over The Wires, also doesn’t disappoint. At first I thought I preferred the bare-bones presentation of the live show to the fully-fleshed out, sometimes lush melodies. It’s a strong effort – not perfect, there are some moments that aren’t quite as memorable as I think they could be (but the live show was like that too). The other thing I admire about the record is just plain solid pop-craft. Here’s a guy who isn’t afraid of a melody or a hook and can work both without being painfully obvious about it. Production, also, is impeccable.

matthew ryan online, where you can also purchase the album.