Bill Ryder-Jones: If … – review


If eyebrows were raised when guitarist Bill Ryder-Jones left the Coral in 2008, his debut album should send them into the stratosphere. A score inspired by Italo Calvino's novel If on a Winter's Night a Traveller is a long way from the Liverpool band's psychedelic folk, and barely features any guitars at all. Instead, Ryder-Jones has recruited the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra to give life to his orchestral compositions, featuring tinkling pianos and occasionally more dramatic orchestrations with strings, brass and percussion. It's mostly instrumental, although his occasional, fragile vocals recall the Durutti Column's Vini Reilly. Le Grand Désordre, the sole guitar track, has echoes of Nick Drake, although Enlace finds space for a prog rock-type solo, which should sound more out of place than it does. The bolder, bigger compositions are gripping, but the quieter moments – Give Me a Name, Leaning (Star of Sweden) – drip with bleakly stunning beauty.


Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Bill Ryder-Jones: If… – review
Former Coral guitarist Bill Ryder-Jones delivers an exquisite solo debut inspired by an Italo Calvino novel, writes Paul Mardles

Paul Mardles

13, Nov, 2011 @12:05 AM

Article image
Bill Ryder-Jones: West Kirby County Primary review – from strength to strength
The ex-Coral guitarist confirms his storytelling skills on solo album number three

Phil Mongredien

08, Nov, 2015 @8:00 AM

The Coral: Butterfly House | CD review
The Heston Blumenthals of pop have become much more predictable in their use of ingredients, fears Maddy Costa

Maddy Costa

08, Jul, 2010 @8:59 PM

Article image
CD: The Coral, Roots and Echoes


Maddy Costa

03, Aug, 2007 @11:41 AM

Alexis Petridis meets the Coral.

Death threats, magic mushrooms and mayhem used to be the Coral's working method. Now it's toasties with the tour manager. Alexis Petridis meets an older and wiser band.

Alexis Petridis

26, Jul, 2007 @11:02 PM

Article image
CD: Patti Smith and Kevin Shields, The Coral Sea


Dave Simpson

03, Jul, 2008 @11:09 PM

Article image
Win a soundtrack written especially for you by Bill Ryder Jones

Adam Boult: Send us a video saying something about you. The former Coral guitarist will select one and write your own personal theme tune

Adam Boult

16, Nov, 2011 @3:40 PM

Article image
Click to Download: Mercury shortlist, Bill Ryder-Jones and Wugazi
Of the 12 albums on the Mercury prize shortlist, 11 can be listened to in full, for free, on Spotify, writes Chris Salmon

Chris Salmon

20, Jul, 2011 @1:36 PM

CD: Tom Jones, 24 Hours

What's that sound, rising from the deep like the devil's colon gargling into life? Why, it's Tom Jones

Jude Rogers

14, Nov, 2008 @12:01 AM

Article image
CD: Grace Jones: Hurricane

Grace Jones's new album is only fleetingly worthy of its extraordinary creator, says Alexis Petridis

Alexis Petridis

23, Oct, 2008 @11:01 PM