Ryan Downey : Running
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Ryan Downey : Running

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Central to this album is Downey’s distinctive baritone voice which contains traces of Roy Orbison and Serge Gainsbourg. Exactly what his songs are about is anyone’s guess, with lyrics mixing poetic storytelling with a hint of humour. Is ‘Techno Dolls’, for example, a dream, a metaphor or futuristic projection?

It’s hard to know just what to make of this album. On one hand, the album comprises an interesting collection of songs that beautifully showcase Downey’s gorgeous voice, on the other, many songs are tainted by arrangements of cheesy synth and electronic drums – think ‘80s Leonard Cohen. In the aptly-titled final song, ‘The End’, synthesised string arrangements act as a reminder of what the album could be, had there been a budget big enough for the real thing.

A highlight of the album is the suave title track ‘Running’ in which guitar and vocals are set to a restrained backdrop of Hammond organ. The hopeful and honest duet ‘1+1’ is also a standout.

7/10

By Bec Blakeney