Bill Ryder-Jones - West Kirby County Primary - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Bill Ryder-Jones - West Kirby County Primary

by Nathan Fidler Rating:8 Release Date:2015-11-06

Even at it’s most belting, West Kirby County Primary is an intimate affair. This is the second full length album from Bill Ryder-Jones (if you’re not counting the soundtrack work he’s done) and it shows that stepping away from being the lead guitarist for The Coral was the best move he could have made.

Mates with Alex Turner, it’s not surprising that he likes to tackle the more intimate subject matter in life. A plethora of intricacies play out on this album and it’s a joy to pick through them. They’re no more apparent than on ‘Put It Down Before You Break It’, where the vocals are so close up that you can hear Ryder-Jones moving his tongue in his mouth. “I came at two but I couldn’t raise ya” is both a throwaway phrase and indicative of the dread in the track.

For the most part the album plays like an acoustic one, only with clean, thick guitars, which sound like his hands have gotten stuck to the guitar. ‘Two To Birkenhead’ has a bombastic chorus, filling out the sound - something more noticeable given the absence of crashing drums elsewhere.

Given his northern roots, it would have been easier to rely on the quirkiness of a Merseyside accent, but although it’s present in parts - “Jill from next door is on nights and she’ll be fucking fuming” from ‘Catherine and Huskisson’ one great example - he doesn’t use it as a crutch.

Clearly the work on the Piggy soundtrack and the creation of a film score through If… have stood him in good stead. There are enough guitaring chops, the quality of which has been proven before, but here he displays a knack for songwriting on its most basic and appealing level. The slightly pedestrian aspects of ‘Wild Roses’ and ‘You Can’t Hide A Light In The Dark’ can be forgiven and played off as a part of the picture of loss which is painted.

Unfulfilled love, be it through the loss of a child or a lover seen moving on, comes up again and again. There are few British solo artists with enough raw talent and learned control like this. Bill Ryder-Jones should be considered one of the most accomplished in the country, so don’t let this album fly under your radar.

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