Joey Ryan – The California EP

Joey Ryan sings some lovely songs. Not heard of him? Well, he sang in the old Hollyoaks adverts. You know, “I went up the mountain to drink from the fountain”. The Extra chewing gum ad, where they rolled down hills? Yes? That was his voice singing. Anyway, that’s not on the CD that I’m reviewing today.

“California, California; Know I love you California”. It appears that Joey Ryan is rather fond of this American State. The California EP is a four track release with California being the opener. If the Californian tourist board are getting a bit fed up of good ol’ Schwarzenegger promoting their fine state, then they should really look to Ryan to use this track in an advert. It makes me want to go there. A lot. He sings of individual cities (San Fran and LA) and enchants you with his vocals.

In contrast, Like A Cloak isn’t such a happy ditty. Not the most sombre on the CD, that’s up next. In fact, I guess it is a happy song when you listen to the lyrics. Lots of similes describing a love that is like no other… apparently. Very acoustic guitar – which I like. And soft vocals – which suit the song.

The stand out song though has to be Giant Clock. Written when Ryan proclaims he was a little depressed, it tells the sorry story of a boy whose father has died. It’s a beautiful story that could quite easily bring you to tears. Focusing on the smaller picture, it revolves around the question of “If I go, who will coach my son’s baseball team?”. There’s no denying that this song is full of emotion. Long breaks within the vocals allow for the guitar music to be the background music to your thoughts. Contemplating your own relationship with your father, you’re made to treasure every moment as Ryan returns to the chorus full of rhetorical questions.

Completing the album is the short track Ride Of Our Lives. Personally, I think it’s the weakest on the CD, but that’s because the competition is pretty strong. The vocals are rather quiet and hence lead to the song fading from your memory after casual listening. Ryan’s got sweet vocals. They aren’t mindblowing by any means. But they make you smile.

And any song that makes me smile is a good song in my books

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