Release Date: Jan 10, 2012
Record label: Domino
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Having left Wirral psych-pop scamps The Coral in 2008 (when they were no longer such scamps), guitarist/horn player Bill Ryder-Jones has refocussed his creative output into film soundtracks, resulting in scores for the short films A Leave Taking, It's Natural to Be Afraid and Bed. It might seem a drastic departure from his former band, but if one considers how their early eclectic tunesmithery suggested a home archive of vinyl curiosities and how later records darkened the tone, it's not so surprising to hear that Ryder-Jones début long-player is a film score based around a novel. Yet If...
Alex T, Noel G and Graham C are among those who have gusted praise towards former [a]The Coral[/a] guitarist [a]Bill Ryder-Jones[/a], who’s been hailed the best British guitarist of his generation. So it’s a surprise of sorts to see him emerge after four years in the Wirral wilderness with a largely guitar-free, mainly instrumental solo album that’s stylistically closer to [i]The Snowman[/i] soundtrack than the early Scouse-psych of his old gang. Still, he wields the [b]Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra[/b] as deftly as he did his spliff-stained six-string – you can’t help thinking that if he’d never left [a]The Coral[/a] they’d have made their ‘[b]Ladies And Gentlemen…[/b]’ rather than their ‘[b]The La’s[/b]’ (again) for the last outing.
If eyebrows were raised when guitarist Bill Ryder-Jones left the Coral in 2008, his debut album should send them into the stratosphere. A score inspired by Italo Calvino's novel If on a Winter's Night a Traveller is a long way from the Liverpool band's psychedelic folk, and barely features any guitars at all. Instead, Ryder-Jones has recruited the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra to give life to his orchestral compositions, featuring tinkling pianos and occasionally more dramatic orchestrations with strings, brass and percussion.
No one could have guessed that the Coral's ex-guitarist, Bill Ryder-Jones, would make his solo debut with a score inspired by an Italo Calvino novel. More surprising still, If… is a joy, its 10 mostly instrumental tracks proving both intimate and powerful. By and large, guitars are conspicuous by their absence, though the ghostly "Le Grand Desordre" possesses the fragility of the young Bert Jansch.
Bill Ryder-Jones’ new album, If…, is an homage to the Italo Calvino novel If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler. Calvino’s book has a loose, explosive structure where exciting and completely unrelated tales keep spiraling out of the original. We read the opening chapter of one book after another, all gripping, but never the chapter of the book that the narrator supposedly wants to be reading—a lost great novel.
Former Coral guitarist releases a strings-heavy solo debut. Wyndham Wallace 2011 Pop musicians have many aspirations, but one that is often hardest to fulfil is to be taken seriously. Bill Ryder-Jones has taken no chances: he’s based his debut solo album on Italo Calvino’s 1979 post-modern, metafictional novel, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler.