We love Ryan Inglis. The singer-songwriter’s new album The Time Is Now was entirely fan-funded, and it’s his best effort yet – it’s full of masterful acoustic guitar wizardry, with a shedload of great lyrics thrown in for good measure. The professional production is a first for Inglis, and it’s this production that really allows him to shine as both a musician and a songsmith.
Opening track My Weakness is a stripped-back affair. The simple drums and bass complement the fiddly acoustic fingerpicking perfectly, before Inglis’s soaring vocals carry the track into the realms of anthemic acousto-pop. It’s reminiscent of some of Newton Faulkner’s more mellow work, which can only be a good thing.
Fear is a beautiful song. The lone acoustic guitar is pushed to the forefront of the mix, where it nestles tenderly in a territory that lies somewhere between Ed Sheeran and Ben Howard. The thing is, Fear is so much more than just another song about paranoia – it’s an emotional expose, and a genuine album highlight. The album continues with the terminally laid-back Lost and the anthemic Secrets. The latter is a departure from the rest of the album – it seems to have been written with arena rock in mind, and it’s bound to be a live favourite. It’s some sort of hybrid of Nickelback and Newton Faulkner, and it’s a pleasure to listen to.
Starlight kicks off with gentle strumming and a simple melody, before multi-layered vocal harmonies completely change the direction of the track. It’s a tough track for Half of The Whole to follow, but somehow it manages it – rhythmic strumming and a lone violin in the chorus give it a slightly hypnotic air, and it’s a perfectly pleasant mid-way point for The Time Is Now.
How Things Change is one of the more upbeat tracks on the album. You can almost dance to it – the pounding drums and funky guitars ensure that this track is as energetic as it is soulful, and Inglis’s voice is once again allowed to truly soar over the instrumentation. It’s catchy and lyrically strong, and it’s definitely one of the highlights of the album.
For You and Real carry on the theme of pleasant-acoustic-guitars-mixed-with-strong-lyrics, and at times this can feel a little tiresome. The latter is a beautiful song – the return of the lone violin and a wall of harmonies ensure that Inglis’s talents as both a musician and a songwriter are displayed in all their glory. However, it would have been nice for Inglis to have thrown in something a little different, purely for the sake of variety.
Album highlight Feel Any Feeling is a step in a more electric direction for Inglis, and he pulls it off without a hitch. It would have been nice to see more electric tracks pop up on the album – it can’t be argued that they complement Inglis’s voice perfectly, and an electric guitar solo is never a bad thing. The album closes with the tranquil One Step At A Time, and it’s one of the most beautiful cuts on the album. Soft acoustic guitars and a subtle violin yet again blend together perfectly, forming a song that’s as heartfelt as it is complex.
The Time Is Now is an absolutely beautiful album that serves as a strong showcase for Ryan Inglis’s many talents. It’s packed with more beautiful melodies than you can shake a stick at, and we’d be shocked if it didn’t get Inglis some much-deserved mainstream recognition. We can’t recommend it highly enough.