If I owned a piano bar I would try and hire Ryan Wolfe. On his album Human he writes songs that are accessible, fun pop songs, that have an ample amount of energy and seem conducive to having people singing along within minutes. The album is full of rich organic instrumentation almost all of which Wolfe plays himself. He picks up a lot of instruments including bass, drums, piano, organ, synthesizers, percussion, and vocals. The wow factor doesn't end there in that he also recorded and mixed the album himself and it sounds more like a professional product than a majority of the albums recorded in a studio.
Wolfe’s songwriting is not only good but also quite varied. You get a little bit of everything from heartfelt piano ballads that may remind you of Coldplay or less serious songs that may have got their inspiration from Ben Folds Five.
The album opens with “Bridges,” which is a song that showcases some of Wolfe’s best abilities including his piano playing and vocal range. The first thing you hear is a saloon-style piano that changes rather quickly to another riff that accompanies his voice. As the high-hat creates a steady time and the subtle flourishes of bass and guitar play, you can tell that things are going to pick up.
The music of “Far Behind’ is quite a departure from the first song. It is grittier, has a psychedelic dimension and some intricate drumming that adds a lot to the song. “People” confronts the nature of the gold digger in our society while “Friends” is one of the funkiest songs on the album that may have the catchiest chorus.
"Make Love” is a sparse song that is the emotional centerpiece of the album. Wolfe’s voice sounds better when there is some melancholy behind it and a lot of the remainder of the album does contain a good degree of it. There are other songs that are minimal such as “Too” and the closer “Superman,” which work almost as well as “Make Love”.
The only issue I have with the album is that it is quite long. With 14 tracks and most songs being around the five- minute mark I was started to get a bit antsy by the end. Other than that Wolfe has created an eclectic album that delivers.
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