Ryland Angel – S/T (CD)

While the cover and related promotional information seem to paint Angel as a secular singer, it really seems like Angel fits well into both adult contemporary and contemporary Christian genres. “Absalom” is a track that uses a little bit of jazz and a slower tempo than most pop to really go forth and create a distinct style for Angel’s music. Even if there is nothing sharp or harsh present during “Absalom”, there is enough in the way of variation to keep individuals interested in what Angel has to sing about. The extended length of the track is not a major thing, considering that this variation is present.

The second track is “Broken Heart”, and it again changes things up, taking on a much more Caribbean style than “Absalom”. The vocals present during “Broken Heart” sound much more timeless, as if Angel here was able to pull influences from the Gregorian chanters. Individuals that are looking for a song that approaches what is currently popular in mainstream music will not be able to find anything that they can appreciate in Angel’s album. However, there seems to be some linkage between what Angel does and what was once popular. During a track like “Broken Heart”, Angel brings a earlier, more classical style to the disc. This style is similar to that provided to listeners by Queen. While the styles of music are still miles apart from each other, there is a chance that individuals that listen to Queen could conceivably find something that they like on Angel’s album.

“Your Kiss” continues much of the same sound and styles present in “Broken Heart”, and adds a little in the way of soulful, amor-full crooning. The register reached by Angel during “Your Kiss” is impressive, and it should be the case that even individuals that are not fans of Angel will be able to find something beautiful in eir. The cohesion shown on this self-titled album is impressive. There may not be major jumps in styles and sounds, but Angel’s efforts throughout are nothing to scoff at. Give the disc a go if one is into the contemporary adult/Christian sound, and also if one can appreciate vocal power. There is little here for current pop music fans, but that is not Angel’s fault at all; 11 tracks is more than enough to get an appreciation for Angel that will not decrease as subsequent albums are released.

Top Tracks: My Dream, Salve Regina

Rating: 6.0/10

[JMcQ]

Ryland Angel – S/T / 2007 Manhattan / 11 Tracks / http://www.rylandangel.com / http://www.manhattanrecords.com / Reviewed 25 May 2007

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