Posts Tagged ‘Ryan Kennedy’

Opening with the subtle rumble of early morning Chinatown, hazy instrumental shape into focus with languid guitars, gently welcoming you into a dream .  The Manchester-based multi-instrumentalist/producer Ryan Kennedy,and his  dream pop group Horsebeach. Based around chiming guitars and Kennedy’s downbeat croon, Horsebeach draw inspiration from classic jangle pop. Becoming critics’ favourites with the release of their eponymous debut album in 2014,

The summery groove and the pop majesty of ‘It’s Alright’ soon sends you spinning into infinity, cares eased by the warm tones of chiming guitars, while Beth de Cent’s smokey vocals come together in perfect harmony with Kennedy’s. ‘Andy’ treats you to a yearning tale of forbidden love, packed with erotic overtones so full blooded they’d make Morrissey blush , while the marbled melodies of ‘Broken Light’ come on in nostalgic ripples and waves of sepia-tinged beauty. ‘Let You Down’ finds Kennedy’s voice sounding better than ever, detailing visceral regret over a full bodied groove .

Opening the B-side with a masterful subtlety, synth led instrumental ‘Midnight Pt.2’ sees Kennedy taking us for a moonlit stroll by the ocean before ‘Dana’ ushers in the dawn with the greatest X-Files inspired song ever written (sorry Cerys). The antithesis of over-serious hipster cool, the earnestly emotional lyrics, anthemic chords and shimmering should be enough to prompt John Hughes to rise again and make a much needed sequel to The Breakfast Club. ‘Disappear’ finds Kennedy and drummer Matt Booth drinking in the cosmic vintage of Düsseldorf ’72, as their chiming West Coast guitars are joined by celestial keys, head nodding bass grooves and a motorik rhythm. ‘Clouds’ draws us back into the haze as Kennedy’s multi-tracked vocals gently melt into the swirl of flanged guitar, while ‘Avoid The Light’ closes the LP with a plea to stay in the dreamworld just a little longer.

Alive with lyrical depth, melodic intricacy and lush production, ‘II’ is the work of a confident and mature multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, and it’s your new favourite LP all of a sudden.

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TRACK LISTING

1. Intro
2. It’s Alright
3. Andy
4. Broken Light
5. Let You Down
6. Midnight Part 2
7. Dana
8. Disappear
9. Clouds
10. Avoid The Light

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Horsebeach is the Manchester-based project masterminded by multi-instrumentalist and producer Ryan Kennedy. Two years on from the chiming majesty of II, he returns with “Beauty And Sadness” – ten rain-soaked vignettes touching on love, loss, regret and remorse. Conceptual, confessional and boldly melodic, it’s a deeply textured LP fusing the familiar C86 jangle with chirping synths, grooving rhythms and expansive ambience whilst meditating on break ups and fuck ups with striking lyrical honesty.

Melancholic, but never miserable, “Beauty And Sadness” is a celebration in the exquisite pain of longing. Named after Yasunari Kawabata’s 1964 novel of the same name – a book which helped Kennedy through a difficult breakup – the source of the album’s title gives a clue as to what lies within, as Ryan explains; “It’s about regret and an overlaying sense of loss but also a realisation of the beauty of starting again. I found some beauty in sadness, as it forced me to re-evaluate everything.”

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Although the sound may be a departure from Horsebeach’s norm, the recording process remains the same with Kennedy overseeing all aspects of production. Taking full control of his melodic output, Beauty And Sadness is the third record to be released on Horsebeach’s own Alone Together imprint.

Drawing on inspiration from either side of the Atlantic, both new and old, Horsebeach’s music retains a certain appreciation to classic British guitar bands – The Smiths, Felt and groups from the C86 era are all indebted here. But Kennedy gives it a unique twist by delving into ambient electronics inspired by the likes of William Basinski and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma. From the album’s dream-like intro – soft with velveteen pads and the delicate romanticism from a speech sample of Japanese author, Yukio Mishima – hazy synths give way to propulsive percussion, rippling guitars and soaring chord progressions as the band’s bittersweet signature sound evolves with newfound poise and purpose.