Ryley Walker, “Primrose Green”
Every track on singer-songwriter Ryley Walker’s sophomore LP evokes a vivid setting of pristine pastoral beauty. The intricate fingerpicking that made his 2014 debut All Kinds of You a memorable listen drives the sparkling melodies and lush soundscapes on Primrose Green. There’s earnestness in Walker’s warble, exemplified in “Summer Dress” and “Sweet Satisfaction.” His influences of Americana, blues, jazz, and Celtic folk are fused together, creating dynamic and frenetic pieces throughout the album, but Walker’s heavy reliance on the charm and cadence of whimsical folk-rock troubadours from the late ’60s is obvious, and a bit disconcerting. The fragmented lyrics (and arty double-exposed LP cover) that attempt to harken back to that time, while succeeding with the sense of dazed dreaminess, don’t quite completely connect with listeners on an intimate level. But taken purely as a sonic bucolic experience, Primrose Green does transport to the fresh fields and sweet atmosphere of Walker’s mind.