Having kicked off as a band with much talked about support slots for International acts like the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Brian Jonestown Massacre with no recordings under their belt, Sydney locals the Black Ryder had a degree of anticipation following the announcement of a debut album. As Max Easton writes, it seems to have been well worth the ride.
Sydney seems to be suffering a bit of habitual repetitiveness over the past few years. It just can’t stop spitting out great new bands. There’s no need to compile a list; bands like Bridezilla, The Laurels and Sui Zhen are becoming increasingly well known, so highlighting that point is moot. However, highlighting The Black Ryder as one of the most exciting new additions to the rapidly rising wealth of artists is damn important, and it only takes about 5 minutes of listening to their debut album ‘Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride’ to make that observation.
The Black Ryder are Aimee Nash and Scott Van Ryper, a songwriting duo bolstered by an array of special guests from big places. The album features players from The Church, BRMC and the Brian Jonestown Massacre, a trio of names that begins to give a faint semblance of what this band are all about, yet fails to describe the uniqueness that this outfit brings to the table. Attempts to label their music have circled around Acid Rock, Shoegazer, Alt-Rock and various other genres that also fail to appropriately describe The Black Ryder and rightly so, they’re not about adhering to a theme. Each track treads its own path without concern of what preceded it, jumping from huge, wall-of-sound, reverberated rock to rollicking pseudo-country pick-strum guitars. Whilst the album succeeds as a cohesive whole, there is an entirety of variety that makes for an interesting listen every time around, and this album almost comes with a guarantee of replayability.
Aimee Nash’s vocals are gorgeous, in the same way that the opalescent sheen on an oil slick beautifies tarmac…they’re grinding and dirty, soaring alongside distorted guitars and keys with drums hiding under layers of reverberated madness. Von Ryper’s vocal contributions are great also, existing as a seamless transition from one to the next with no bad blood on the listener’s part when one departs. It’s refreshing to hear an album that has been recorded in a way that feels entirely independent, with the only navigator being what has evolved in recording and post-production, with little concern about adhering to audience expectations or playing whatever needs to be played to fit a genre.
‘Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride’ is a phenomenal debut which has come entirely out of nowhere. Considering the band has existed for what seems like a flicker – starting off with massive support slots before working their way into recording – this an extremely tight and mature album. If you’re lucky enough to come across this on your travels, get yourself a copy before they disappear. With an album like this, secrets don’t get kept for long enough for you to second guess yourself. The Black Ryder have arrived with a debut that will undoubtedly be the benchmark for the duration of their existence. Enjoy.
‘Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride’ is out through their own label, the Anti-Machine Machine and EMI Distribution on November 6th, 2009.