Published Feb 13, 2019Australian singer-songwriter Ry Cuming has led something of a charmed professional existence. Since landing a Jive Records deal for his 2010 debut, he has toured with Maroon 5 and garnered favourable notices from The New York Times, Entertainment Tonight and other heavyweight media outlets.
Now, with global behemoth BMG backing his latest, via the Infectious label, RY X seems poised for a next-level step. Is he ready for prime time? Mostly.
He certainly has what it takes to stand out in an industry dedicated almost entirely to streaming services. There are a handful of tracks on Unfurl that are downright spellbinding, or at least close to it. His vulnerable falsetto — the thing most compellingly unfurled over the course of the 52-minute disc — seems bound to quicken the heart rate of admirers around the world.
Taking in more than a couple of tracks at a time, however, there is far too little scope here to hold our attention. Credit him for mixing the instrumentation up. He croons just as admirably over electronics and piano as he does acoustic guitar. But the evenness of his style grows increasingly distracting with each new song.
Cuming has listed Jeff Buckley's classic Grace as a key source of inspiration. It's not difficult to connect his work with that unforgettable slice of vinyl. He writes and sings beautifully; Unfurl is a lovely, understated pop disc. But, for now at least, RY X's material lacks the range of a Buckley set. (Infectious)