Similarly to the Joywave album I wrote about on Sunday, Amber Ryann‘s latest EP, “Voice Memos” features a common theme of struggling to find a place in a world full of turmoil. This time around, however, her blend of hip-hop, indie pop, and rock combined with genuine, charged lyrics makes for a unique fifteen-minute experience.
Yet again, I’m asking you not to judge this EP by the opening track. “Voice Memo” is electronic and sounds like Ryann is trying hard to be eerie, almost like Halsey on steroids. It’s a little too much at times, but it’s easy see where her past with rock and hardcore comes in.
Right after, however, “For Real” features rapper Airospace and is somewhere between hip-hop and bluesy pop. The blend seems as though it should be unnatural, but Ryann makes it feel like the simplest genre. It’s a wavy and atmospheric background overlaid with striking rap lines about vulnerability and opening up to someone new – something that nearly anyone can relate to. Similarly, “Interlude” is a spoken word track with light synth but heavy poetry that tears through Ryann’s racial and social turmoil.
For the last half of the EP, Ryann moves back towards a Lorde-Halsey mix of sound. The second-to-last track, “Bad Wolfe”, is most easily summed up by the lyric, “I’m the baddest motherf*cker that was ever alive”. That is, that’s the intent. In reality, it’s saturated with heavy bass and guitar riffs. Not necessarily a bad thing, and in fact, the track is thick and catchy – just too contrived, unlike the natural flow of the previous two tracks.
At times, “Voice Memos” comes across the same as every other lo-fi Bandcamp pop artist. At others, however, she shines through with honesty and genuine lines that knock you off of your feet. Listening to this type of music can easily get tedious, but it’s well worth it to find a gem like “For Real” or “Interlude”.
Originally published on Indientry on August 10, 2017.