BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
Despite an ability to consistently create a singularly haunting milieu, Ryan Matthew’s melodies aren’t always the easiest to digest. Shadowy, fleeting and eerily elusive, his songs resonate not in the way he stacks his choruses over his verse, but rather for the uneasy impression the music leaves behind. It’s that aural imagery that’s made Ryan so fascinating, even when the more hummable content is buried far deep in the mix.
Happily then, Boxers finds Ryan upping the ante on those more accessible elements, ultimately resulting in a more satisfying sound. Here, his atmospheric rumination is injected with a not so subtle hint of urgency and intent, resulting in a mix of infectious, incessant rockers and cool, contemplative ballads. “Boxers,” “God’s Not Here Tonight” and “Heaven’s Hill” are the most obvious standouts, but in truth, the bar remains high throughout. It’s hardly an exaggeration, but still necessary to point out — true to its title, Boxers evokes the sound of a man that’s suddenly ready to rumble.
DOWNLOAD: “Boxers,” “God’s Not Here Tonight,” “Heaven’s Hill”