Ryan's sixth album overall and first big label release couldn't have come at a better time for all involved. We've become so inundated with mediocrity on every level, not just music, that when the best begin to surface - Kathleen Edwards, Mindy Smith, eastmountainsouth, Over The Rhine, Josh Ritter - they can't help but rise to surface.
Regret Over The Wires will certainly conjure up the usual slate of musical influences, confluences, and comparisons but that is the least of our concerns. Here is a voice, a consciousness, we can actually listen to and hear something come back. "I hope your God has mercy on mine" Ryan rasps. "This future comes to make a liar out of me" he sings in the early Costello and the Attractions rocker The Little Things. There is an emotional depth behind these songs that, though at times cuts a little too close to the bone I Can't Steal You, Nails ("we were quick like money") is arresting and universal when wrapped in their big rock sound. Tweaking electronica into the mix (as on the opening, downhearted shuffle Return To Me, Ryan reveals his eye not only for lyrical clarity, but musical identity.
Back in the old days, reviewer's would throw around the trite 'Next Big Thing' or 'New Dylan' tag and destroy, if not an artist's career and credibility, at least their sensibility. Luckily, we've learned from our mistakes and just let our artists grow at their own fertile pace, staying with them all the way. It's time to stick with Matthew Ryan.
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