Australia - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 21 - 07/09/98
Bare Essentials EP
"Bare essentials: Essentially bare, naked, exposed, raw, no extra's,
a face without makeup, the truth of the matter, without the
superficialities." This definition is found on the back cover of
Bare Essentials. Well, I can like that, and it open's quite well
with Sing It Out, a strolling tune with calm guitars and a
semi-catchy refrain. Can't Sleep is the most rocking song with
moderately fuzzed-up guitars around a pretty basic rock riff, but
it's rocking well. Rhapsody melds in some acoustic guitars also,
but the melody sounds a little awkward in my ears, and the refrain seems
to be stamping along without going anywhere. Keep My Faith is Ryan
alone on vocals and acoustic guitar. A ballad with both a blue and gray
feeling. I'm not sure about the lyrics - whenever I hear lines like
'I keep my faith, and I keep strong', I tend to slip into protection mode -
but OK. Ryan's voice sometimes remind me of David Byrne's on this
somewhat unoriginal ballad.
The introductory definition seems to be a good description of the
production / arrangement side of things; clean and minimal. But
this way of working requires solid songs and solid performance, and
I can't help getting a little bored with these songs. Perhaps adding
a little more than just the bare essentials would have provided a
more colourful listening experience, but if you crank the volume up,
at least the two first songs seem to loose most of their 'grayness'.
With him on this EP singer/songwriter Ryan has Chris Bailey on bass
(no, I don't think it's the Saints man) and Mark Kennedy on drums.
I don't know if these musicians are with him on the road, but I would
anyway guess that an Anton Ryan concert is worth visiting, if you
get the chance.
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Copyright © 1998 Knut Tore Breivik