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19 Nov, Tuesday
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ryan mcmullan - harmony 2018

Taking a chance on local music

Strictly speaking Ryan McMullan’s The Singles did not come to me through the usual channels in my capacity as Music Reviews Editor. That’s because I was off the clock, as it were, and in Boston Massachusetts for a Snow Patrol concert.

I always arrive to a show in time to catch the opening act. And more often than not will take a chance on the not-yet-known-to-me artist, and buy their CD. So was true of this show.

Now, to be fair, I was familiar with Ryan McMullan’s work. The theater staff manning the merchandise table was not.

The doors had just opened and the merch-table was strategically placed allowing me quick access before taking my seat. I perused the selections. Ryan McMullan’s EP, The Singles, seemed pretty straight to the point and priced right.

I stepped up to the table and was greeted by a brusque Boston accent.

“You know what you want?” he asked.

“Yeah, I’ll take the Ryan McMullan, Singles EP.” I answered.

When faced with a blank stare, I continued, “Um, the yellow one.”

Relieved, the man looked to the wall of souvenir items and grabbed ‘the yellow one’, handed it over and said, “That’ll be ten bucks.” I made my purchase and took my seat.

Soon the house lights went down and the show began. In spite of his cold, the poor wee devil still knocked it out of the park. As he played the new single, In the Back of My Mind, I got a little thrill knowing I had that very track tucked safely in my purse, anxious to make its debut on my car stereo on the way home.

Which it did. And continued to get played. A lot. I mean, a lot, a lot.

In essence fairly standard indie-pop crossover, save for a more folksy vibe on Susanna, and for McMullan’s subtly gravely vibrato throughout. Bowie on the Radio kicks things into high gear with is euphoric lyrics cruising alongside the bouncy melody, the volume dial inching upward.

The remaining 4 tracks are ballads, which may seem like a lot, but in these 5 tracks a love story unfolds before us. From the rush of that first great night, falling in love, saying goodbyes, to post-break up healing.

As I add this album to my growing music collection I’m thinking two things; I’m glad I took a chance on something new, and that was the best ten bucks I’ve spent in a long time.

Now it’s your turn.

Ward Park FREE > Fri 24th Jun > Info

Snow Patrol > Ward Park 3 > Tickets & Info

Ward Park Three

NI Music Editor, Gigging Northern Ireland