Riley Armstrong - Riley Armstrong

Tuesday 1st August 2000
Riley Armstrong - Riley Armstrong
Riley Armstrong - Riley Armstrong

RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 2226-21030
LABEL: Flicker 5028518260121
RRP: £4.99

Reviewed by Mark Goodge

Short of time and with a new CD to review, I whacked this into the in-car CD player and listened to it on a lengthy motorway journey - which gave the bonus of a second opinion from my passenger. This self-titled debut album from Canadian singer/songwriter Riley Armstrong soon had toes and fingers tapping, with the opening "Sunray" leading nicely onto the highly radio-friendly ">Greater Than". Yes, that > symbol is part of the song title, and this slightly left-field humour is evident in other tracks and titles as well, from the jokey "Sleep" to the oddly-titled "9 Point 8" (referring to the gravitational force on Earth, apparently). In the car, we're both enjoying the music until a cover version of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" provokes sharp disagreement -I love it, my companion opines that the perpetrator should be shot! But this brief moment of disunity passes as we get back into more of Riley's self-penned songs, and peace is restored by the excellent "Watching Out For Trystyn", which reminds me a bit of The Choir's "Wide-Eyed Wonder" and a bit of some of Michael W Smith's more poignant songs. Talking of comparisons, other reviewers have likened him to Steven Curtis Chapman, Jars Of Clay and Beck, and there's a vaguely Britpop air to some of the songs. But this is no derivative effort - Riley is a talented songwriter who can more than hold his own in the company of any artist I've mentioned so far. Journey's end, and our collective decision is that this is a very good album - the second opinion in the car describes it as "happy summer picnic music", while I'm thinking of how to distil this into a review. And, for the first time, a review album stays in my car CD player by choice, purely on merit.

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Sample Track Listing:
1. Intro [Listen]
2. Sunray [Listen]
3. Greater Than [Listen]
4. Reborn [Listen]
5. The Table [Listen]
6. Bridge Over Troubled Water [Listen]
7. Sleep [Listen]
8. Watching Out For Tristyn [Listen]
9. The Only [Listen]
10. 9 Point 8 [Listen]
11. Paper Cup [Listen]

This track data is supplied by the Cross Rhythms CD/DVD review library. Please note that CD tracks may vary according to release region or product version.

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