Posted on February 27th, 2015 (3:00 pm) by Magdalene Taylor

Australian duo The Black Ryder's The Door Behind The Door, following their first release, Buy The Ticket, Take The Ride in 2009, seems intentionally impossible to define in its swirling mix of vague shoegaze, psych rock, and spacey, ambient orchestral softness. There is something starkly incoherent about the combination of sounds contained in The Door Behind The Door, with a clear lack of a running thread to tie it together. It has its moments of beaming light, but these moments are often abruptly struck by an awareness of the fact that the song hasn’t changed in structure since it began. In a word - confusing.

The Door Behind The Door’s confusing quality is easily summarized by the final track, “Le Dernier Sommeil (The Final Sleep).” It is a smooth, mainly violin / cello combination that’s only development is about two incremental increases in pitch in its twelve minute, vocal-less duration. Notably, no other songs utilize such a classical sound, nor are any other song titles French. Essentially, it lacks context, structure, and an ability to hold interest. Much of the rest of the album is the same.

This convoluted nature of the album detracts from what The Black Ryder does well. “Let Me Be Your Light,” for example, features airy and luminous ambience layered beneath a steady drum rhythm, while “All That We Are” takes on a dreamy acoustic shoegaze component. Both of these songs demonstrate the kind of beautiful sounds the band is capable of producing. However, they exist within a strange mixture of intentional creepiness, and songs that seem designed for the sad scenes in '80s children’s fantasy films (most notably, “Until the Calm of Dawn”). At least in the case of the latter, that kind of thing might be pretty cool on its own. But again, it’s all about context, and The Door Behind The Door seems to lack any.

The Door Behind The Door really does about a thousand different things, and it’s just impossible to make sense of them all. The overall effect is discordant, despite the band’s display of their abilities to create harmonious ambience with a shoegaze / soft rock undertone at various points throughout the album. On top of this, The Black Ryder seems to make little effort to actually draw you into the songs. The flat nature of each song almost leaves the impression that the band ultimately isn’t considering the audience component of their music. If that’s the case, kudos to them for being so dedicated to their craft for their own benefit. Nevertheless, they’ve put their work out for us to listen to, obviously suggesting that their music is intended to be heard by others. Unfortunately, that’s about as far as their consideration for their listeners goes.

Track List

  1. Babylon
  2. Seventh Moon
  3. The Going Up Was Worth the Coming Down
  4. Let Me Be Your Light
  5. Santeria pts. 1 & 2
  6. Throwing Stones
  7. All That We Are
  8. Until the Calm of Dawn
  9. Le Dernier Sommeil (The Final Sleep)
The Black Ryder - The Door Behind The Door Review
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

50 / 100
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