Riley Armstrong - Riley Armstrong

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

STYLE: Pop
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 2226-21030
LABEL: Flicker 5028518260121
FORMAT: CD Album
ITEMS: 1
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.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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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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