English singer-songwriter Ryan Keen‘s debut album, ‘Room For Light’ is filled with the sweet, melodic, acoustic-pop songs that come from the same place as Ed Sheeran’s tunes. Much of the music from this genre makes pleasant background music, but proves to be a bit weak when scrutinised to any extent. So is ‘Room For Light’ any different then?
Know About Me is a gentle start with delicate guitar plucking, and Keen’s breathy vocals give an impression of great intimacy. The production here is quite impressive, managing to fill out the overall sound with subtle keyboards and guitars, while still retaining the sense of closeness. Skin and Bones follows in the same kind of style, but the catchy chorus makes it a stand out track. In fact most of the songs on ‘Room For Light’ portray the same atmosphere, with a soft verse that builds into a big chorus, and the mellow vocals generating an overall melancholic atmosphere that gets a bit boring when it features in every song.
Trouble finally sees a change in style with an upbeat, bouncy guitar part and a more prominent percussion section. It’s quite refreshing to hear a bit of variety in the midst of very similar songs, and Trouble is probably the strongest track on the album. It’s back to the standard sound from here to the end of the album, although the violin section does prove to be highly effective in Focus.
‘Room For Light’ is a ‘nice’ album; well-produced and good for a bit of easy-listening, but overall lacks any substance. The lack of variety is a bit disappointing, and the album feels as though it’s too long. There aren’t any bad tracks on the record, but there are far too many mediocre ones for the album to be anything more than a decent effort.