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Album Review: Bill Ryder-Jones - 'Yawn'


Bill Ryder-Jones is a rare specimen in the music industry. He is not seeking to sell-out arenas or top the charts anytime soon and is solely focused on making the music that he wants to make, in an uncompromising style that only he can. His new record, Yawn, takes the listener on an encapsulating journey right into the heart of Bill’s world in West Kirby where the album was born.

The multi-talented artist has been in the music business for most of his life now, his former band, The Coral, shot to fame when he was only a teenager and Yawn is his fourth solo endeavour, following in the footsteps of his previous record West Kirby County Primary allowing him to venture into making his most personal, vulnerable and open record yet. With that in mind then, it is fitting as the cover art features a long-lost picture of Bill’s older brother who sadly died when they were children.

Yawn is a world away from his brilliant orchestral debut record If…, it was written as a musical adaptation of Italo Calvino’s 1979 novel ‘If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller’ with each track representing a different chapter in the book but since then on his previous two records has found his own voice and is using personal experience as his inspiration.

The self-produced record flows seamlessly and takes you on an emotional voyage, especially on the two tracks written about Ryder-Jones’ parents, the joyously fuzzy lead-single ‘Mither’ and ‘John’ which is an affectionate love-letter to his father.

Both tracks sound stunning and are full of some heart-wrenching lyrics that take you back, such as the moment from ‘Mither’ which pulls at the heartstrings: “No I don’t feel much anymore, is that your key in the door? Nothing else would mean much,” he sings. This loving affectionate sensitive side of Bill is one that really shines throughout the whole record and ‘Don’t Be Scared, I Love You’ emphasises this perfectly. A song, which after only a few listens, is already one of my favourite songs he’s ever made.

Like all the 35-year-old’s previous releases Yawn powerfully strikes you with the first listen but with each spin, the record somehow improves when you discover a hidden new layer from Ryder-Jones whether this is a lyric or guitar note that somehow you hadn’t noticed on previous visits to the track.

If you’ve ever seen the West Kirby man live you’ll know just how much he uses humour during a gig when interacting with the crowd, it is this same humour that also transcends onto the record with the final track’s tongue-in-cheek title of ‘Happy Song’ which is a stunning six-minute blow-off to a magnificently hypnotic record that sees Ryder-Jones cement his name as one of Britain’s most gifted musicians today.

[MORE] – LIVE: Bill Ryder-Jones – Gorilla, Manchester

Yawn is available via Domino Records on November 2nd from here and all streaming platforms.