From the opening moments of “This Town” I was convinced that I’ve stumbled upon the next artist ready to carry the torch of Tom Waits to a new generation of music listeners not yet too jaded to appreciate the touch of sinister imagery he brings to bear. With an eye for pop hooks to match someone like Duke Special, who has made his name with similar cabaret-pop experimentation in Belfast, Don Ryan knows he has to win listeners from the very first moments … which makes “This Town” even more impressive, since the smothering sense of doom is present instantly, yet manages to build as the song progresses. “This town is burning down,” he sings, his vocals providing hits of desperate hope even as all the music around him floats like flotsam upon the oily black bilge water below.
In other words, this is music for those of us who like our pop music with enough edge to make it worthwhile. And you can trust me on this or rely on the video below, but what Don Ryan brings to the table here is nothing short of deliciously twisted.
Ryan’s album Tangle Town comes out officially next week. Queue up!