When you live with fearlessness and a feeling all things are possible, you can pack a tremendous amount of life into a short space of time. Ryal’s New York City journey through the worlds of punk rock, Wall Street, bohemian circles, and the fashion world has informed her music and point of view tremendously. After her tenure fronting mixed-gender outfit Strip Darling, indie music that played as a collision between Florence the Machine and Portishead, Ryal has crossed over into a decidedly different vein with her recent material. However, she isn’t offering pop music cut from cheap cloth. Instead, Ryal has seized the infectious tempos and glistening surfaces of pop as vehicles to communicate the same artistic commitment that filled her earlier efforts.
Her new single, “Lonely Love”, has music sparkling and throbbing with the teeming pulse of packed clubs, laughter, and late city nights. Unlike many of her contemporaries, Ryal’s never treats the lyrical content as a mere afterthought to justify titling the song, but has enough melancholy depth to create an interesting contrast with the upbeat music. However, her voice is the guiding instrument. It alternates between comfort, pleading, and has a deceptive emotional rawness not often associated with this music.
A chiming keyboard pulse anchors the intro and often seems to answer Ryal’s voice throughout the song. The warm guitar fills snaking through the song augment the keyboards, but still add a nice funk veneer over the chorus. This is song never rushes itself; everything is measured and tightly woven and the bridge perfectly segues into the song’s final half. Dave Burnett’s drums hold everything together.
This is stylish, sophisticated pop music that isn’t disposable and holds up under repeated listening. Undoubtedly, the secret to this is Ryal and her ability to express herself without reservation through her gift. The honesty in her voice is the song’s central instrument and sure to effect all but the most jaded.