Bill Ryder-Jones – West Kirby County Primary (Domino)

Bill Ryder-Jones – West Kirby County Primary (Domino)

Bill Ryder-Jones - West Kirby County PrimaryHaving apparently dropped an album worth of material for the songs featured here, both Ryder-Jones and Domino were clearly convinced he had more to offer. Regardless of what came before, West Kirby County Primary is a gem of an album and the gamble paid off. Ryder-Jones is probably best known for his decade as the guitarist with Liverpool band The Coral, but he’s also just as comfortable behind the controls producing (Hooton Tennis Club/ The Wytches), has worked with the Manchester Camerata chamber orchestra as well turning his hand to live guitar duties with Arctic Monkeys. It’s hardly surprising then that he done a fair amount of work on this album himself. Opting to write/ record most of it in his childhood bedroom in his mother’s house in West Kirby clearly helped him summon up some of his most honest material to date and seems to have given him endless inspiration for it’s content and palette.

Across the ten tracks instrumentation is sparse and considered. It feels somewhat like you are being let in on an intimate moment, a whispered secret even. Then just when he has let you in as close as he feels comfortable, he pushes you away with some jagged distortion, leaving you at a safer distance.

Opening with the delicate and understated ‘Tell Me You Don’t Love Me Watching’  before following with the heavier and more-than-a-little-bit-Pavement recent single ‘Two To Birkenhead’ leaves you wondering what the hell just happened and sets out the path the album takes with its loud-quiet-loud dynamic. A tactic he employs perfectly throughout. “Where do you go when you don’t know you’ve done wrong?”  he repeats, “They say that desperate times/ Call for desperate pleasures”  as the guitars chug along leading you to believe there’s been a serious amount of soul searching gone into this album. The influences are all over the place from The Kinks sounding ‘Catharine and Huskisson’, Neil Young on the fairly brutal ‘Satelites’  and even Weezer towards the end of ‘Let’s Get Away From Here’. But it’s his ability to switch so confidently and seamlessly from one thing to the next that is the real charm.  This is his strongest material to date and from the looks of it there’s plenty more to follow this one.

[Rating:4]

Released Friday 6th November 2015

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