Bill Ryder-Jones: If … – review

(Domino)

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.

Contributor

Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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