The Black Ryder’s “The Door Behind The Door” Is Achingly Beautiful

For their fans, the wait for The Black Ryder’s follow up to 2010’s Buy The Ticket, Take The Ride has been nigh on interminable.  We can only imagine the travails, the journey, that got the band finally to be able to release, on their own label, their beautiful follow-up album, The Door Behind The Door, which came out yesterday.

Aimee Nash and Scott Van Ryper moved from Australia to Los Angeles around the time of their first album’s release, and between then and now, they split as a couple, but held together as a musical entity.  We’re glad they did.  Former members of Australia’s Morning After Girls, they retained on their first album the most interesting elements of that band’s early U.S. release, which was called Prelude EPs 1&2.  But where the Morning After Girls was a shuffling of the deck with Brian Jonestown Massacre and Dandy Warhol cards emerging side by side, the first album by The Black Ryder was a shoegaze epic, with the guitar squall of My Bloody Valentine served up alongside gorgeous evocations of the Velvet Underground.

The core of The Door Behind The Door was released as individual songs over the past few months — “Seventh Moon,” “Let Me Be Your Light,” and “Santaria” — and there is nothing, honestly, on the rest of the album that can compete with those three.  This is slow, artisanal rock music crafted by hand in dreamy, melodic, high caloric confections.  The rest of the album punctuates the mood with acoustic guitars picking up speed before giving way to Spiritualized anthems (“Throwing Stones”) or classic rock mid-tempo ballads.

The exception is the closer,  “Le Dernier Sommeil (The Final Sleep),” which is 12 minutes of symphonic film music, something that if you heard on a Jonny Greenwood score you’d grok and enjoy, but wouldn’t bat a lash at.  In this context, it is interesting as a choice of what to put out as the closer on a long-awaited follow-up to one of the best records of the decade.  Almost one-fifth of the album is given over to the composition, which is beautiful, but at the end of which we are left hoping that, unlike MBV, The Black Ryder get back in that studio and turn out the next one.  Please, sir, may I have another?

We eagerly await seeing them in May at the Austin Psych Fest.

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