Relaxed, pop/rock music, the kind with crystal clear vocals, and a relaxed approach might best describe the efforts of East Coast singer Ryan Neilson on his indie release Four Walls.
The lyrics are pop formula too. They aren't exactly the deepest, thought provoking songs in the world, but they can get you singing along, and there are a few stories being told.
Songs such as Hello Houston, Back To Life and Dear Stephanie all have a somewhat inward looking theme in terms of their lyrics.
There are times where Neilson goes for the sappy, which of course often happens with this genre. That happens on cuts such as Slow, and All Fall Down. Now this isn't necessarily a knock against the material, since that is just what the genre tends to offer up.
In the case of Neilson, the good news is his voice. It's clear with a nice timbre, that carries pop well.
This is not material that you will remember listening too in six months, but for what it is, it's good, after all no one said pop was a 'deep' musical style. Think of the pop of the 1970s. Hits came and went overnight, and one-hit wonders flourished.
It will be interesting to watch how Neilson grows as a performer. The voice is there to take his music farther than this medium offers.
It is also obvious Neilson can write. There is a poet at play here, and in time he may create music with a harder edge, or move into a genre like jazz, and that will allow him to say more.
As it is this is a pop album, a good one at that, so if pop is your thing take a listen
Check it out at www.ryanneilsonmusic.com
-- CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper April 29, 2009 - Yorkton, SK. Canada