Ryder the Eagle - Follymoon (Self-Released)

Ryder the Eagle – Follymoon (Self-Released)

The first time I came across Ryder the Eagle he wasn’t called Ryder the Eagle. Instead, he was going under his real name Adrien Cassignol, and he was a member of the French hip-pop act Las Aves. Just after their underrated debut album was released, he left to go solo. I thought this would be the last time I heard from him, but a short while later he emerged as sexually charged Ryder the Eagle.

Cassignol’s self-titled debut was short but full of emotion. After catching him on a UK tour, where he played to six people in Brighton, it was, and is, one of the best gigs/performances I’ve ever been to. I was the only one who had turned up to watch him – the rest were either playing chess or seeing a friend at work; he published the book ‘The Taste of Salt’ (probably a reference to jizz). Part travelogue. Partly a glimpse into the loneliness of touring. Part erotic diary entries. This was followed by Cassignol moving to London and the album Free Porn. This album chronicled his divorce and his new life alone in a strange city. It was dark, sad but strangely life affirming. Three years later he has returned with a new album Follywood. This time Cassignol is living in America and a part of Adam Green’s live band, as well as the support. The mood is slightly lighter, well musically anyway, but the stories of love, loss and redemption persist.

The album’s standout track is ‘The American Dream’. Ultimately this is about going out with something to make yourself better, make your ex jealous or both. Its something we’ve all either been guilty of or tried to do. It’s the story about how Cassignol got an American girlfriend and took her back to France to meet the fam. But it was all for nothing. The lyric “I chose my past over my future. And my future left me to die” sums it all up. It might be the lyric of the album. Maybe his career to date. And this is what Cassignol does. He takes his heartache and turns them into vibrant, seedy ballads.

Musically its all upbeat and joyous. Which takes the sting out of the words, but not by much. ‘The
Worker of Love
’ has a sleazy organ that underpins Cassignol’s “where did it all go wrong?” lyrics. The title track feels like it was inspired by Cassignol’s time in the US. There is a polka vibe to it. His vocals soar and are filled with remorse but also pride. ‘The Ghost of Clementine’ asks whether you can ever escape an ex and if that’s a bad thing. “The ghost of Clementine sings in my radio now” pretty much sums it up. However, like the majority of Ryder the Eagle’s songs, the answer isn’t forthcoming but that isn’t really the point, is it? Philosophising is more fun than worrying, so why worry?

As with all Cassignol’s releases the lyrics get quite sexual. The album is littered with them, but “I
went down on you at my parents’ house, before we all drove back to our lives
” might be one of the best, or worst, depending on your tastes. But it’s also so tongue in cheek, and honest, it’s hard to get offended by it. At its heart Follywood is one of the best breakup albums in recent years. Lyrically Cassignol is baring his soul, but he does it in such a way that you smile more than you cry.

Unsurprisingly it’s Cassignol’s strongest work to date. On Free Porn he was in a bad place and the music was downbeat and dour in places, but on Follywood it’s more upbeat and breezier. This might be because he’s adopted more American sounding tones – there is a fair bit a mariachi going on here. It means that when Cassignol’s telling us about how awful his life is and how lonely he feels it comes across almost jocular. Like that bit in a dark rom-com where the lead hits rock bottom, before they meet their future soul mate. Whether Cassignol will do that remains to be seen. Hopefully but you never know. The only folly here is if you miss out on this glorious, hilarious, and heart-warming album.


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.