Unparalleled song writing duo Aimee Nash and Scott Von Ryper, of The Black Ryder, have just released their sophomore album, The Door Behind The Door. This release comes six years after their 2009 acclaimed debut Buy The Ticket, Take The Ride. Despite this first album’s success, in the years since, the pair split as a couple and divorced. However they have remained close friends, relocating together to Los Angeles from their Sydney hometown, and still demonstrate a unique chemistry as musical collaborators.
Their newest release fully demonstrates this chemistry as well as the duo’s curious process constructing the album. Von Ryper has stated that the band purposefully challenged consistency, instead deliberately ordering the tracks on The Door Behind The Door so that each would morph into something completely different. Despite the resulting individuality of each track, The Black Ryder have still managed to create an album that is not only coherent, but also majestic.
Babylon is the album’s moody opener. A two minute long instrumental introduction, it reveals very little about what The Black Ryder have in store, but works well to build intrigue and mystery, setting an appropriate mood for the rest of the album to follow.
The second track, Seventh Moon, kicks off the main body of the album in a spectacular fashion. The ethereal layered soundscape with Nash’s weightless vocals would fit comfortably on a Sigur Rós record – matching the Icelandic band’s sensitivity and ability to create lengthy uplifting masterpieces. The following track, The Going Up Was Worth The Coming Down is far more grounded, however. With the sensitive vocals of Von Ryper driven by a gentle acoustic guitar hook building towards layers of synths and whirring effects, this is a moving indie-rock track that demonstrates the duo’s flexibility and ability to master a range of genres.
Let Me Be Your Light continues the whirring effects of the previous tracks, but augments these with psychedelic tones and more of Nash’s airy vocals. Goldfrapp meets My Bloody Valentine, this track stands out for its unmissible vocal harmonies that swell throughout the chorus. The Black Ryder manage to create amazingly complex soundscapes out of relatively simple layers, sticking to the mantra of ‘less is more’ but disguising it through their masterful songwriting.
Having just been confirmed as the opener for the Jesus and Mary Chain’s 30th Anniversary of Psychocandy tour in May, it’s not surprising to hear their influence, which is especially evident in the Just Like Honey-esque percussion on Santaria.
The following, Throwing Stones sees Nash give a greatly different performance, delivering a bold alto and abandoning her earlier breathy vocals. The track swells from a simple acoustic guitar introduction to a dramatic choral climax that boasts a mass of voices. This is then contrasted by the swirling psychedelics of All That We Are, which also sports a large choral congregation, but this time is far more ethereal.
Layers of strings conclude The Door Behind The Door, tying up this album with an epic twelve minute-long outro titled Le Dernier Sommeil or The Final Sleep.
With The Door Between The Door the listener never quite knows what they’ll expect, but they can be confident that whatever the band have up their sleeve is sure to impress. It might have been a lengthy wait for fans of The Black Ryder, but it was a worthwhile one. The hard work of the duo over the past six years has resulted in a masterpiece.