by Isabella Soares
Ryan Hockey’s debut EP Again channels everything from an indie piano ballad to space driven sound distortions that evoke a sense of escapism and a dream-like universe. It starts with the melancholic yet increasingly powerful “Again at 4 a.m.,” featuring a galactic backing track that makes the song an absolute ride right from the beginning.
It is almost as if Hockey is making us sit and dive into the atmosphere at first listen. Then the ambience shifts completely with the guitar chords and the heart-wrenching lyrics present in “You Love Me I Know” that capture the uncertainty of feelings towards a significant other, but still choosing to cling to them for dear life.
The highlight here is “Drive,” which combines the feeling of driving during the chill summer nights with hand claps, raw electric guitars, keyboards and harmonies that could have easily been inspired by The Beatles’ later albums.
As the psychedelic vibe comes at ease, “Room In Your Heart” is bubbly and high-spirited as it expresses the romantic optimism of reciprocated love. The groove kicks in full force with “I Don’t Wanna Be Here,” a song that defies any of our expectations based on the title. I guess people are right when they say don’t judge a book by its cover.
A couple head bangs turn into swaying from side to side when “For Her” begins to play. The simple chords, keyboard, and drum structure could easily be a favourite to sing along to by a group at a campfire fire site under a starry night. “Dance Alone” ends the EP in a terrific tone with a Mumford and Sons-like harmonica arrangement that is just sensational and short-lived. Why couldn’t this section last a bit more?
Overall, Again succeeds in capturing the essence of nighttime in its different facets. Whether it’s sitting down in the corner reflecting about inward feelings in the dark, driving down the road in a carefree manner, and just chilling with friends in a bonfire. While Hockey’s vocals and lyrics lead a simple structure, the instrumentation here captures organic and experimental sounds that make you feel in awe at times and just relaxed at others. One thing is for certain, this will definitely please “Abbey Road” listeners as well as the indie-folk obsessed ones.