(Artwork care of Karen Ramsay (www.karenramsay.com), profile photo care of brianlackeyphotography.com)

Monday, July 26, 2010

CD review - Back Ted N-Ted, The Mirror (2010)

Pop music is shallow and trivial. That's why so many people like it. There are no edges to alienate or challenge them. Back Ted N-Ted (i.e. Ryan Breen) ignores that common wisdom on their new album, The Mirror. Sure, it's mostly upbeat, danceable synth-pop/electronic-pop, but these are not forgettable songs. They have emotional depth, complexity, and great dynamics.

Nothing But Love sets up a looped guitar line over a melodic bassline and a laid back, electronic drift. It's falsetto electro-indie pop music, layering and looping parts to create a buoyed sense of self awareness. It builds into a lush art-rock feel of dreamy ecstasy, sounding like Yes interpreting Roxy Music.
I'm sorry I lost my mind
I can't seem to see behind
The falls down mystery
I've fallen through the folds of life
There was a time when all was well
A time when we fell
Blind to everything but love
There was a time when I could see
Sublime and lost at sea
Now, I'm struggling for air
I swear it's nothing but love
There's a rocking rhythm to the vocals that's almost hypnotic

Equally personal, but completely different is the story song, Forever. The story is raw and moving as it talks through a relationship and its pattern of love, eventually requited. Ryan Breen's revelations of his own thoughts and feelings make it powerful. The verses are all spoken word style over cool guitar riffs and synth parts that create a rich background complexity. The power pop chorus is sung over a driving beat: "Do you think these memories will be with us forever?"

The other songs are also strong, from the Oingo Boingo style new wave of Whatever Makes You Feel Good to the electronic shimmers and catchy pop of The Mirror to the electronica meets folk of Lose Control.

Back Ted N-Ted's music deserves a bigger audience, like many great bands out there. If Breen can reach that audience, though, he's got a good chance of connecting. Think New Belgium's Fat Tire.

The album is due out in August, but Breen has apparently dissolved the band.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Jason. This is Ryan's Dad, Mike. I can tell you that Ryan greatly appreciates your kind review and that Back Ted N-Ted will be back!!! BTW: "The Mirror" is currently available on iTunes and Amazon. - MB