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Album Review

One mark of an exceptional pop music talent is the ability to make songs that sound simultaneously universal and deeply personal. Another is the ability to trick you with what sounds like simplicity, using it to pull you into something that goes a bit deeper — either sonically (notice how many layers there are to the sweetly chiming "About a Girl," both in terms of its arrangement and the constantly shifting undertow of its chord changes) or lyrically (notice the emotional depth of "Bridie's Eyes," not to mention the gorgeously astringent string arrangement that supports it). Both of those, like several other of the album's best songs, were co-written with producer and power pop legend Don Dixon; Marti Jones also contributed writing on "All About a Girl" and "Key to My Heart," and she sings backup on several tracks as well. The three make a powerful team, but it's Kelley Ryan's voice, her lyrics, and her heartbreaking way with a melody that make this such a special album. "The Lady's Daughter" takes the simplest possible tune, little more than a lullaby, and turns it into something ambiguous and wonderful; "Monkey with a Flashlight" is gently percolating, perfect pop music with a tinge of late-afternoon melancholy, the kind of music you'd listen to on the way home from the beach rather than on the way there. "The Speaks" is soft acoustic reggae with absolutely perfect background harmonies; here you might wish that Dixon's bassline were a bit more interesting — reggae is nothing if not an opportunity to write a great melody for the bass — but you wouldn't have wanted it to distract from Ryan's voice, either. And "Key to My Heart" takes a melody as pretty as a china vase and places it in a 1960s girl group groove, slyly ending without a harmonic resolution. Like so much great pop music, Twist appeals immediately on the surface and then yields more and more with repeated listening, and it's easily one of the most satisfying releases of 2010.

Customer Reviews

Spead the word - there's a new star in town

Perfect albulm for a Sunday afternoon. I bought this a while agao but finally "listened" to it. Beautiful arrangements, original lyrics. Moved it to my favorites. This should be on everyones play list. Buy It!


Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Kelley Ryan spent a decade as the driving force behind the rootsy Los Angeles-based power pop collective astroPuppees, who issued four albums over the years of 1996-2005 — two on the Hightone label and two on Ryan's own Manatee imprint. Her work attracted notice from the likes of singer/songwriter Marti Jones and Jones' husband, producer Don Dixon, as well as new wave icon Marshall Crenshaw, all of whom guested at one time or another on astroPuppees tracks. In turn, Ryan co-wrote two songs...
Full Bio
Twist, Kelley Ryan
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Customer Ratings