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Ryan Power - I Don’t Want To Die

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Artist: Ryan Power

Album: I Don’t Want To Die

Label: NNA Tapes

Review date: Aug. 17, 2012

I don’t want you to die either, dogg, not after hearing this. Vermont pop recluse Ryan Power has been stealthily releasing solo albums as CD-Rs and downloads for the past handful of years, refining an approach to synth-pop as realized by Todd Rundgren, but channeled through a strict diet of progressive rock, particularly where it met AOR in the late ‘70s. You get the sense that, musically, had Daryl Hall been afforded more opportunities to work with Robert Fripp, these are the sort of songs they might have created, but while they might have focused on Aleister Crowley, Power focuses on his own condition, over-informed and knotted with hypochondria, and he aims to tell us all about that over the course of these eight songs.

The guy’s got an excellent, clear voice and handles the reams of witty lyrics belonging to each song with deft precision. You could dance, or at least work out, to most of what’s here, even as the songs push clashing, difficult rhythms and time sigs against the familiar bed of warm tones generated by his outboard equipment, and light, supple arrangements that are kind to this approach. He performs as a student of recent musical history (as in the last 50 years) and his skill as an arranger makes the final product all the more odd and compelling in taking the listener through a tour of his issues. There have probably been at least a few songs about the fear of a condom breaking during sex, but Power’s is the most articulate, the most revealing.

I’m not sure if I’d want to spend any real time in this guy’s head, but the record he’s made here has given me a good deal to think about and celebrate.

By Doug Mosurock

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