Live Review from Underground Rocks!
1. Safe and Sound
3. Canadian morning
4. Welcome to the Family
5. Bad Ink
6. You Didn’t Cry When Chris Cornell Died
Bass, drums and guitar three-pieces à la Cream, The Police, Nirvana, Green Day – it’s a well-trodden path with little left to offer, right? Well nobody told that to The Ryans, who have taken the concept and made it their own. If it were a CD, I would describe their sound as “a grower”. In person, it similarly creeps up on you, but faster, and with much greater immediacy.
As a three-piece every element is vital, and the drums and bass naturally form a huge part of the sound. Totally locked in, they provided a mesmerising backbeat. Add the wash of fuzzy guitar and you have a big, hypnotic, grungy, classic rock sound, at times a little reminiscent of bands like The Pixies, hints of Shoegaze but unquestionable distinctive and original. I also hear wafts of The Velvet Underground and The Jesus and Mary Chain. At times though it’s almost jazzy, with elements of bossa nova; so cool, so spacey, so effortless.
So I wasn’t surprised to discover that two of The Ryans are also Deer, aka Hong Kong-based Mexican duo Adriana Martinez and Miguel Bastida, whose excellent Portraits EP this reviewer was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to evaluate some months back. While that release is primarily trip-hop meets techno-indie, the talented twosome can clearly apply their genius to other musical forms. What’s next? Classical? Bluegrass? Creole? Whatever it is, I’m putting my order in now.
As established on the Portraits EP Adriana has a great voice, which gets into your head and under your skin. She’s also got some clever device providing harmonies for her (unless her band mates were doing it ventriloquist style, and without the aid of microphones), which added another layer of emotive energy.
Heavy yet delicate, tribal and intimate, The Ryans conjure a slinky and sinuous magic, and everyone in the venue feels its power.
– Dan Creffield