When last we heard from Matthew Ryan, he was getting in touch with his inner Eno, electro-soundscaping the peripatetic songs he writes in his own blood and sings like he's half-choking on same. If From a Late Night High Rise is his most difficult record, a middle finger to his Nashville outsider reputation, his latest album, Matthew Ryan vs. the Silver State, is the live-sounding, collaborative work of a band. It's a hell of a band, one that swings like the Waterboys and churns like the Blue Nile while bringing it all back to a foreclosed and fuzzed-out Dylanesque home. And only a writer of Ryan's vision would, in a season of permanent war, turn "Dulce Et Decorum Est" into a song of purely personal, purely brilliant ravages. He remains an essential American voice.
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