RianMusic’s unmistakable vocal tone and the equally unmistakable single I’m The One kick off this full-length album in a quickly familiar, creatively interesting way. The contrast of strings and what feels like a hip hop anthem initially, with the later full-throttle pop energy of later, helps give the artist a defiant style of his own.
These eclectic qualities continue throughout 4th Street, actually introducing a playlist that grows more and more impressive the further along it moves.
Already with There You Are, the second song, a whole new sound emerges. A clean-cut, melodic vocal accompanies a big-band or pop-rock instrumental. Along with superb use of contrast, we’re gifted a movie-ready, cinematic hit of songwriting that’s beautifully emotional and uplifting. A defiant highlight – a live performance would like be stunning.
RianMusic’s songwriting stands tall within just about every song on this project. His range of influences is decidedly broad, from hints of hip hop to seventies driving rock-ballads and a whole lot of folk-pop and big-band artists along the way. Horn sections, timeless beats, hefty guitar work and happy choruses a plenty energize for songs such as Like A Light and Don’t Fall In Love. Then things get a little more conceptually intense for a retro, sci-fi-kissed and thoughtful I’m Yours.
The eighties and earlier make a few subtle appearances from time to time. When You’re Not Here seems to float somewhere between the likes of Depeche Mode and U2, effectively crafting its own hypnotic aura for the latter half. New Life makes for a similar example, mildly experimental, with a welcomed vocal feature for dynamic, and another smooth and memorable hook.
As much so as offering a varied and consistently interesting selection of original tracks for music fans to enjoy, 4th St also delivers a plethora of insightful stories and reflections on life. A second listen is undoubtedly where these ideas connect all the more strongly.
Diplomatic Skies is an emotive and provocative latter half highlight, with a powerful vocal performance. Oh Hey Hey afterwards lightens the mood with a retro bass-line and an almost Sledgehammer-like vibe. Then throughout the next couple of tracks, electric guitar work and vintage synth-play intertwine amidst fascinating story-lines, poetic imagery and seemingly fresh melodies – Land Of The Free even throws in a reggae rhythm for further versatility.
Chillax stands out for its Morcheeba-style trip hop breakaway from the norm – a mellow groove follows on well from the equally smooth delicacy of an aptly titled Take It Slow. Not for the first time there’s a touch of George Michael to Rian’s voice – a trait that appears again for the album’s closing song.
Chronic Pain leaves the listener with plenty to consider, and the brightness yet contrasting struggle of an immersive Gospel hook proceeds to linger in the mind.
Fascinating music, the kind of interesting, unexpected artistry that only the indie world tends to offer up. Enjoy.