New Album releases: Snow Patrol, Ryley Walker and Island Reggae

May 20, 2018
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That hiatus seems to have brought a new calmness and simplicity to their music – the default sound here is percussive yet restrained – but it has also allowed songwriter Gary Lightbody to bring artistic perspective to a number of personal issues.

Soon, which deals with his father’s dementia, is heartbreaking: “The secret storms of your wild youth,” he sings, “now just gentle breezes, warm.”

Equally impressive though are a number of songs detailing his own rescue by an unnamed woman from booze-filled unhappiness: Heal Me, with its beautifully twisting, turning vocal, and the curiously light and bouncy A Dark Switch.

Best of all is the powerful and resonant What If This Is All The Love You Ever Get? built over just a handful of mournful piano chords: “Come on over here, I’m in the ruins too/I know the record so well…”

Ryley Walker – Deafman Glance (Dead Oceans) – out now

Rating: 4/5

“I just wanted to make something weird and far-out that came from the heart,” Illinois-born singer-songwriter Ryley Walker has said of the expansive, mercurial Deafman Glance.

That it is also playful, beautifully melodic and more accessible than such a strange mixture of folk, pop and experimental jazz deserves to be, is utterly remarkable.

The opening Castle Dome is a mournful plod through his adopted city of Chicago that is curiously uplifting; likewise the rapidly-shifting tempos of 22 Days and discordant 1960s-flavoured Accommodations.

Sounding a little like Bonnie “Prince” Billy or Gil Scott Heron at times, Walker has authored an instant cult classic here.

Reissue of the week

Various Artist – Island Reggae  (Island, three discs) – out now 

Rating: 5/5 

Including, for the first time on a compilation, two sublime Bob Marley tracks (Is This Love and Three Little Birds), Island Reggae is an exhaustive trawl through the genre, with stone-cold classics such as Ken Boothe’s much covered Everything I Own and Dave and Ansel Collins’s Double Barrel, the superb Steel Pulse’s Handsworth Revolution and U-Roy’s timely Chalice In The Palace.

With the sun shining, what more perfect accompaniment?



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