Ryan Knocked Out is a solo artist from South Florida. He has played in different bands over the years and used that experience and his knowledge from working at recording studios to self-record his EP Leaving Sunrise.
He describes his sound as “bedroom pop with a cinematic thread” which is entirely accurate. The tracks have a mellow indie pop vibe with interesting theatrics. The lyrics are said to represent “watching a girl turn into a ghost” and are full of angst and longing.
The album started with “Provider” which had a pretty soft piano melody and muffled distorted vocals. The song had a strange haunting feel to it and it was hard to determine which direction the album was going to go. The second track “Sleep” had more of an upbeat Rock/Pop vibe with a unique arrangement and a catchy chorus. It had a very youthful fun foundation even though the lyrics gave off the impression of a paranoid and even depressed point of view. I really enjoyed it, the style reminded me of a combination of the accessible rock of Jet and Foster the People’s experimental pop sound.
The title track, “Leaving Sunrise” had a cool experimental feel with distortions and strange sounds. It turns into a completely different song halfway and has a voice recording of a girl ending a relationship with a boy. The song gets dark and more haunting after that.
The following track “Marijayne” is the cliche track about pot that could be interpreted as a song about an actual girl with the true meaning being a little muddled. Although the concept has been done before countless times, I still enjoyed it. It had a cool, swaying beat with a sing/song rap type vocal that worked really well with the overall style.
“Can’t Unlove You” was a somber instrumental piece with soft piano and gentle melodies while “Cheer Captain” was a fun pop track that reminded me a little of the Plain White Tees. I like the way Ryan rhymes the first few words in a verse or a chorus instead of the ending words on a line. It gives it an original sound that works really well with the catchy beat.
The contagious upbeat vibe continued with “Addiction” which covers rough topics yet makes you want to bob your head. The faded vocal and dark subject matter again reminded me of Foster the People. “Every So Often” was sad and pensive with more gentle piano and melancholy lyrics. The final track “21” had female vocal harmonies which intensified the point of losing a relationship.
Overall I really enjoyed Leaving Sunrise. Ryan Knocked Out has a unique take on love songs and pop music which sets him apart from a lot of what’s mainstream in that category nowadays. Although some of the production felt rough and raw, it actually fits quite well with the feel of the album. There was more than a couple stand-out tracks for me so I’m looking forward to hearing more from him in the future.
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