Album Review: RY X, ‘Dawn’

RY X (Supplied publicity photo, 2016)

Australian singer-songwriter Ry Cuming, who now goes by the stage name RY X, has always had one hand on his guitar and the other wiping away a tear.

His second full album — following 2010's self-titled, major label debut Ry Cuming — continues to elicit wistful emotion with his plaintive vocals, gentle guitar and tasteful electronic accompaniment.

In Dawn, RY X continues along the lines of his sleeper 2013 single "Berlin" — which is the centrepiece of Dawn — a sparse, haze-like ballad that sounds like what loneliness would be if it were a pop song.

Despite the ethereal, longing tone of Dawn, RY X's sentiments are not unbearably forlorn. The production greatly helps the record from falling into a dolor dirge, swaying like a wave from quiet stripped-down acoustic guitar-vocal moments ("Sweat") to crescendos of driving EDM synths ("Haste").

Dawn confidently wears its quiet, broken heart on its sleeve in a way that's poignant, pop and powerful.

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About Robert J. Ballantyne

Robert J.Ballantyne is a senior editor at Popjournalism and Creative Director at Artsculture.ca. Previously, he was a journalist at the CBC on a number of news programs including the fifth estate, Marketplace and The National. He also worked as a staff writer at the Toronto Star.

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