Ryan Michalski is a singer, songwriter and guitarist who comes from a small town in New Jersey called Ringwood where he lived for 25 years. He started playing guitar at the age of 14. Ryan always worked on his playing technique and writing skills. He grew up in the 80’s hair-metal generation developing a taste for indie-pop and alternative music. He moved to Tampa, Florida in 1996 and went to art school. He also dabbled in public access television and other projects. For the last 20 years he’s been writing, recording and releasing CD’s under alias’ such as Ryan Cosmonaught, Dead Dark Slide and Space King. I get a lot of albums sent my way for review and I mean a lot. Most of them don’t do anything for me. They don’t always get placed in the CD player, but the ones that do usually get 3 a three song stay of execution and generally if they last past that they get a full write up. Sometimes I’m hooked from the first track, and that’s precisely what happened when I put this latest 14 track release from Ryan Michalski on. The album bursts to life with fantastic Ninth Moon. The album doesn’t back down from there and follows through with a wonderful sequence of songs, 14 of them in fact. It twists and turns the way great albums should with a little bit of rock, a little bit of Psychedelic Rock, and Funky Classic rock and rich Jam Band Goodness. I Especially like how the whole album just flows song to song. The song line-up is masterful. So many bands and record labels get this basic skill so wrong. They fail to listen to the songs at their disposal and seemingly throw the album together without giving it any real thought. I’ve known people who work to formulas making sure that their best songs start and finish the album with the remaining tracks squeezed between in a slapdash fashion. That’s not the case with “I am Starting Over.” That may be because each track could probably survive on its own merits. Ryan Michalski could be heralded as classic sounding pop-punk-rock but there is so much more to them. I hear The Replacements, Deep Purple, Rare Earth, Lenny Kravitz and Dave Mathews band on severe Steroids It would stand out on the poppier songs like the brilliant “She’s a Girl”, but there is a deeper and darker edge to songs like “Movie”, “You Told Me You Loved Me” and “Don’t Cry.” The interweaving harmonies and strong vocals are a delight, but the solid rhythmical foundation is essential to the artistic and commercial success of any artist. The sound is that of the golden age of popular music in the Seventies and Eighties, but the beauty of this record is the use of all mod-cons forcing Ryan Michalski relevance into the modern world. The band have achieved good support from radio and he appears to be a critical darling up north, but I am left bemused how they are not yet household names. It’s not a case of all the elements being present but the final product being missing as the songs, the musicianship, the production, and the performance all knit together beautifully. Maybe I’m lucky enough to be in on the ground floor? Maybe things are just about to kick on for these guys? Whatever it is make sure you get hold of this CD entitled “I am Starting Over’ by Ryan Michalski is in the class of instant classic so don’t miss out.
URL – www.ryanmichalski.com
Rating — 8/10
Best track — She’s a Girl
Jennifer Hurtzler edited by Joshua Beach
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