Golden Sings That Have Been Sung
Walker's third studio album represents a leap in creativity that brings to mind the evolution of Van Morrison. "The Roundabout" represents his symbolic return to his hometown, Chicago. The somnambulant sun-dappled intimacies of opening track "The Halfwit In Me" most audibly bear the imprint of Ryley's improvisational sessions with Wilco multi-instrumentalist, Chicagoan and producer Leroy Bach, while "Funny Thing She Said" is an unflinching study of separation set to a shimmeringly supple ensemble performance. Soft, slo-mo explosions of melody intermittently burst through the distant thunder of the verses on "A Choir Apart". Intriguing, surreal images are meted out by "I Will Ask You Twice", like a malfunctioning slide projector; and, perhaps best of all, the stunning finale, "Age Old Tale", which spiders out from an Alice Coltrane-inspired reverie into a sustained rapture that very few artists have managed to achieve. 'Golden Sings That Have Been Sung', for all its unquestionable merits, suggests that Ryley Walker is only just getting started, and the next album or the one after that might be his masterpiece.