Regret Over the Wires
First Appeared at The Music Box, November 2003, Volume 10, #11
Written by John Metzger
When Matthew Ryan released May Day in 1997, he garnered the attention of critics far and wide who rightfully hailed him as one of the finest up and coming songwriters of his generation. Six years later, nary a peep is being whispered about his new release Regret Over the Wires, and thatís a real shame, for in the intervening years, Ryan has only become better at what he does. Such is the nature of the music business, however, where losing your major label contract means the mainstream world stops listening, and a lot of great talent winds up going unnoticed and unrewarded.
For the record, Ryanís masterpiece remains his previous outing Concussion. He has always had a gift for penning lyrics that are heavy with the weight of emotion, and the albumís sparse, folk-driven style suitably framed his lonesome tales with arrangements as bleak and somber as Bruce Springsteenís Nebraska. With Regret Over the Wires, Ryan returns to blasting out the sort of roots-rock found on both May Day and its follow-up East Autumn Grin, and although his lyrics remain remarkably strong, the thick, hook-filled music that surrounds them tends to mitigate their potency.
Thatís not to say that Regret Over the Wires isnít good. In fact, itís still one of the better albums released this year. Whether lamenting his latest heartache or standing up for the dreamers and the working class, Ryan is undeniably affecting, wringing truth from every word he sings. For the most part, however, Regret Over the Wires feels more like Ryan took a step to the side rather than another giant leap forward. Ĺ
Regret Over the Wires is available
from Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2003 The Music Box