Album review: RIAN – Twenty Three

RIAN - Twenty Three

Frontiers [Release date 16.07.21]

Here’s a genuine contender. Rian, a Swedish melodic rock band formed by singer/writer, Richard Andermyer. On their second album now, and first for Frontiers.  It’s produced by the hugely talented musician, Daniel Flores. He gives the band’s music a three dimensional depth and plenty of oomph.

The songs are formulaic only in the sense that most verses accelerate gradually toward a climactic punchline. Yes, you can hear echoes of Work Of Art, Gotthard and other bands from the blood pumping opening of ‘Stop’. And yes, you can hear US AOR influences breaking through from time to time. But the effect is not so much musical impersonation, but rather something more immersive.

You could define it perhaps as a lifelong lived-in experience, turned into 21st century songwriting. So, naturally from time to time you hear stuff that seems to have been suspended in aspic since the eighties.

‘In The Dark’ and ‘Where Do We Run’, full of classy, clamouring melodic rock, illuminated by sunbursts of keyboards and guitar (thanks to Tobias Jakobsson’s finely measured mix of the elegant and the robust), put the band on the same level as Champions League outfits like Brother Firetribe and Eclipse.

And looking across the Atlantic, ‘For Your Heart’ and ‘Body And Soul’ give you the sense that they have been carefully, lovingly constructed from pieces left on the cutting room floor by Harem Scarem and Blue Tears.

So there’s something instantly familiar and yet remarkably fresh about Rian’s material, and there’s a sonic warmth to the many songs – like ‘You Belong’ and ‘Your Beauty’ – that arrive unencumbered by a need to sound relevant, relying solely on supple melodies, taut guitars and meaty rhythms.

This band will go far. ****1/2

Review by Brian McGowan

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