Introducing a project devoted to both identity and eclecticism, the UK’s own Ryan Hardy makes use of a number of genres and storylines throughout the deeply personal album Numb.
Admittedly genre-fluid but musically impressive for its stunning guitar work and arrangements throughout, Numb undoubtedly stands tall on the back of a clear passion for composition.
Somewhat vocally displaced but no doubt recognisable in tone, Ryan Hardy’s melodic developments feel almost freestyle-like initially, always loaded with passion as they back up the colourful and ever-evolving musicality of the tracks.
Temptation is all of this, storytelling and identity-driven for a clear edge of the personal and the alt-pop energy combined.
Only You follows on with stronger musicianship still – hypnotic piano and crisp, satisfying acoustic guitar meet with a quieter vocal build-up that more intimately connects.
Along for the Ride furthers it all the more so – beautifully heartfelt, blending contemporary rhythms and that acoustic fingerstyle while a humble, tired vocal whispers revealing sentiments and poetic reflections in a calming, open manner.
Countach raises the pace again for another bounce of a groove and a louder, more high-octane vocal return. Then we get the reverb-kissed ambiance and purposeful drive of the title track Numb. The vocal aches again, the music guides us in one direction, the songwriter meanwhile pours his truth into the process with clear commitment.
Where hints of medieval style guitar appeared earlier, Roses takes that tone a little more notably, and builds a uniquely alt-pop, even theatrical performance, complete with unexpected melodic shifts and production details that are equally unpredictable. Something like progressive rock ultimately kicks in for the hook, distorted and bold.
At the penultimate moment, Talk Less brings things back to basics, with a mellow piano lead and beautifully breathy, gentle vocals that seem naturally suited to this kind of reflective, acoustic delivery. Here we get to really appreciate the originality of the lyrics and the melodic development.
No Secret wraps things up with perhaps the most stylish and enjoyable guitar riff yet. The melody leans towards metal or prog rock again, but the gentle rise works to keep things pure and intimate. A great way to finish, cinematic and from the heart, building up into the weight of rock for a gritty big finish.
In every case, Ryan Hardy’s songwriting feels undoubtedly new in tuneful approach and conceptual exploration alike. There’s a clearly recognisable tone to each of these songs, and Numb speaks fearlessly and showcases vulnerability and passion united.