Release Date: Feb 24, 2015
Record label: The Anti-Machine Machine
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Neo-Psychedelia, Shoegaze
Formed by a couple of ex-Morning After Girls members – Scott Von Ryper and Aimee Nash – The Black Ryder lean more towards The Raveonettes and Mazzy Star territory than, say, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club like their ex-band, and not least because of Nash’s gorgeously wispy vocals so reminiscent of Hope Sandoval. Her looks are similarly captivating; in fact, The Cult’s 50-something frontman Ian Astbury found himself so besotted with her beauty that he went and married her in Los Angeles during a 2012 US tour when the Aussies were supporting the goth legends. She Sells Sanctuary indeed.
In some ways, the gap between the Black Ryder's cult-favorite debut Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride and its follow-up The Door Behind the Door feels even bigger than the five years that separate them. Aimee Nash and Scott Van Ryper went through some major changes during that time, including their divorce and a move to Los Angeles, and these songs reflect what they weathered together. The talent they showed for crafting atmospheres is even more impressive here: thanks to the lavish production and arrangements, The Door Behind the Door is crisper and more massive-sounding than its predecessor.
The Black Ryder is a band out of time. It’s not just that their own music is heavily indebted to specific and identifiable sounds and eras from the past—that describes 95% of all bands working today. It’s more that their particular combination of influences has actually had several waves of revivalism, so it’s hard to know which version they are drawing from.
If you’ve been lucky enough to meet “Seventh Moon” - the mesmerizing lead single from The Door Behind the Door - down at the crossroads already you’d be forgiven for having high hopes for the Black Ryder’s second album. The string-soaked sobfest “Moon” is like the avenging angels swooping out of the beyond during the finale of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Beautiful but pant-fillingly petrifying.
2013 Psych Fest deluge survivors, the Black Ryder are scarcely the same band that carved out 2009's Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride, goth-tinged garage-rock replaced for the follow-up with ethereal doom. Their debut hinted at this metamorphosis in the dreamlike "Outside," but as Australia-via-L.A. core duo Aimee Nash and Scott Von Ryper swap lead vocals, their psych influences have never been clearer than on The Door Behind the Door, with brief swerves into gospel ("Throwing Stones") and maudlin lullaby ("Until the Calm of Dawn").