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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
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Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Matthew Ryan
Regret Over the Wires
Hybrid Recordings

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
I'm a big fan of vocals.

Perhaps this results from being tone deaf myself, but when the right voice and the right music fit together, I know it. I feel surrounded by pure sonic bliss.

I wouldn't say Matthew Ryan fits in that category necessarily. This folk-pop performer crafts elegant beautiful ballads and genuine folk missives all the while croaking like the Boss. At a first listen, there's no denying the vocal similarity to Bruce Springstein, but, strangely enough, Ryan actually finds his own niche. The glaring similarity is quickly overcome.

On Regret over the Wires, hints of social commentary flow amidst universal themes of (you guessed it) regret, loss, hope, and tales of people believable for their rough edges. These people are possibly even a little broken- but that's what makes them so real, unique and able to be cherished.

Regretfully, the disc opens with such a wonderful song that the rest of the disc has no choice but to be somewhat disappointing. "Return to Me" is both regretful of the past and hopeful for the future. Ryan's emphatic deadpan delivers wistful lyrics over elegant guitar and piano, both equally tearful and expecting. Although the most decorated track on the album, it also showcases Ryan at his most honest and likewise more vulnerable. The menacing "Caged Bird" exhibits Ryan at his most distrusting: "It's deep pockets with quicker hands/ priviledge breeds circumstance." However "I Hope Your God Has Mercy on Mine" finds Ryan at his most critical. From losing faith to defending humanity, Ryan points fingers, but leaves the blame behind. "They'd charge you for the air that you breathe," Ryan growls, "If they could only get that meter on your face."

Ryan's feet are firmly planted in the garden of folk-pop, so there's no wandering into the land of stadium anthems and blues rockers (a la Born in the USA). But it's in this valley of oatmeal-y goodness where Regret over the Wires can really make it's mark.

Reviewed by Natalie B. David
A fresh graduate of the Grady College of Journalism at the University of Georgia, in her spare time she can be found clumsily manipulating words and phrases for LAS and Beautiful/Decay magazine, hungering for sushi, naming inanimate objects or pondering the existence of stiletto heels. If you see her, you should buy her a cup of coffee because, chances are, she probably needs it.

See other reviews by Natalie B. David



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