Oscar and Grammy Award winner takes a step backwards
I first encountered Ryan Bingham when I reviewed and enjoyed the CRAZY HEART soundtrack that he had a big part in and then I bought his own release JUNKY STAR the following year and enjoyed that a lot too.
Compared to those two albums TOMORROWLAND doesn’t quite flow as easily and some of the rowdier Punk tinged tracks can be a bit challenging to a delicate flower like me.
That said there are a couple of really good songs – Heart of Rhythm has a really good Alt-Country beat to it and Bingham’s voice is the right side of tired and worn to carry off the old-timey Too Deep to Fill which closes the album. More like that would have earned him an extra star.
Sadly, the same can’t be said of the opus Rising of the Ghetto; which is not only a little bit self-righteous; but sounds like he is trying to mimic Kris Kristofferson and doesn’t quite pull it off.
On the other hand he plays to his strengths on No Help from God which has a soulful and even funereal beat to it and Bingham captures the mood perfectly by not trying too hard to impress the listener with any theatrics.
It was only after listening to the perfectly crafted 2 minutes and 20 seconds of the Alt-Rocker The Road I’m On that I realised that a couple of the other songs could have done with some judicial editing to make them easier on the ear. Perhaps I’m getting old but a song has to be beyond excellent to keep my attention for more than 5 minutes these days and there are four that come in at over 6 minutes on TOMORROWLAND.
I desperately wanted to like this album more than I ended up doing; which is a shame as Ryan Bingham is a good; bordering on great songwriter but something appears to be missing throughout TOMORROWLAND.