Ryan Allen & His Extra Arms “Heart String Soul”
It’s always really cool when a love of one artist leads you to discovering even more great acts. When we saw a link to this album on the Facebook page for the brilliant Nick Piunti we knew it would be worth checking out. Our expectation levels were then raised even further when we learnt that Ryan had played on Nick’s releases. Any final doubts that we would love Ryan’s work were confirmed when we discovered, via an interview, that he grew up loving hair metal!!
Given all the above, it will come as no surprise to learn that opening number “Should Be Me” is a brilliant, modern, pop rock song and there has never been a truer lyric than “the song on the radio should be me”. Although, to be fair, there are loads of songs on this album that really should be blasting out across the airwaves. Numbers like “Looking Forward To Looking Back” and “Born Radical” are up-tempo pop rock records that just generate a good time feel. The world would certainly be a better place if these were played on the radio!!
There is a more restrained approach taken on “Become A Disaster” which offers a more off beat tone. Whilst “Keep Me Around” and “Not Hanging Out” are more mature sounding songs that could be easily categorised as adult pop. In contrast, we enter almost bubble gum pop territory with “Angela ‘97” which has us recalling Redd Kross’ Third Eye (possibly the finest pop/rock album ever made!!). Indeed, there is also a flavour of that awesome band’s sound on “Young American Nomads”.
We are back to a more rocking sound on “Back To Square One” which is still power pop esque but also has a more modern chugging guitar line. It ends up almost like the Foo Fighters going on full pop mode. The album then ends with the intense and emotive “Bonded By Blood” which is a poignant ballad.
Like the Nick Piunti album, we have again struck power pop gold with this disc. For the youngsters out there, playing this album may come as a bit of a shock as not once will you want to hit that skip button! We’ve been a bit swamped by more melancholic singer songwriters recently and instead, Ryan is one of those artists that makes the world actually seem a little better. Unlike many releases of a similar style, the songs are never throwaway but just perfect little pop gems. Listening to this album is like being caught in the sun light through a rare break in the clouds. We again find ourselves going back to the line that the songs “on the radio should be” these!!