By: Gemma Mastroianni
Kenopsia is the second release from Ryley Patrick, an alternative rock band based out of Toronto and Whitby.
This EP was recorded in the band's home studio, and vocals were done in a cabin in Northern Ontario. It incorporates a whole new set of musical themes with the addition of synthesizers, and some heavier tones in comparison to their debut album, "The Disaster Plan." With that said, lyrically, it is centered around similar themes of failed and hopeless romanticism and friendly relationships. Vocally, there are some new vibes such as no screams, some belts, and even a guest appearance from Sarah Walsh.
"This is also the first time I've collaborated with my live band, The Roundabouts, during the songwriting process for feedback and new musical ideas and inspirations. My bass player Max Ross and I produced the record together, while he maintained all roles in the mixing process. Things came full circle when the album was mastered in Berlin, The city which Ryley Patrick began (First drafts of Disaster Plan were written there in 2018), and it was mastered by Mike Grinser at Man Made Mastering Berlin, who is a pretty highly renowned electronic mastering engineer."
As for my thoughts on Kenopsia, it really blew my expectations out of the water. I loved all of the tracks on the first album, my favourite being "Eleanora," but from a production standpoint, it could have used some work. This is a whole new vibe for Ryley Patrick not only from a quality standpoint but thematically as well. There is a certain maturity that comes with this set of tracks. It feels like a collection of music that should be listened to from start to finish. I love how "Chasing Rabbits" transitions into "Bruno's Table," it feels like it is one song.
The utilization of synthesizers adds some great texture to all of these songs. The style of this EP reminds of something apocalyptic and futuristic. I like that this is a bit more aggressive and rough, but gets smoothened out with all of the finer details such as the synthesizers, guest feature Sarah Walsh, and the pace in each song.
"Brunos Table" is an epic track that keeps you on your toes. It takes you on a trip with the amount of instrumental detail, and the guitar solo from Jared Burke that creates an excellent segway to the ending of the song featuring Sarah Walsh.
"Catalonia" gives me total Radiohead vibes, with an edgier touch. The washed-out vocals were incredibly well done and I really appreciate the echo on those, and it flows so well into the heavy chorus.
Again, I am so beyond impressed at the progress that has been made from the first album to this EP. It is evident how much thought has been put into the production (which is near flawless), organizing the tracks, lyricism, and defining a theme and style for all of these tracks to fall under. I feel as though it is the perfect album for those who love alternative rock and metal, as it marries the two. There is a clear new direction here, and I'm excited to see what is next because it can truly only be up from here.