Known to many as the frontman of The Melismatics, Ryan and Pony, the lead guitarist of Soul Asylum, it’s Ryan Smith’s solo career that interests us today. His new single, ‘I’m Slipping’, is the latest in a series of recordings he made during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Back in 2019 Soul Asylum was on their “Dead Letter Tour”, preparing the scene for the 2020 release of their album, ‘Hurry Up And Wait’. All that fell by the wayside once the pandemic struck, but it left Ryan Smith with some unexpected free time, and he called on his teenage experience of playing all instruments on his albums, which he released on his own Hygh Tensions Records label.
Back at home Ryan started recording new song ideas, with no clear idea of what he was going to do with them. Just like in his younger days, he played all instruments on the tracks, as well as sung all the vocals. Sure enough it soon became clear that all this was leading up to a new album, covering themes that delve into the personal as well as observations about the state of the world.
A song born out of a world-wide phenomenon should have a video to match, and so it is with Ryan Smith’s visuals for ‘I’m Slipping’. Verging on the psychedelic in his experimental approach, the clip, as with the song, leaves plenty of room for interpretation. Smith’s cascading vocals, introspective lyrics, and pop-punk/shoegaze soundscape work well with the video, which sees him play all the instruments, as well as sing, often at the same time. His black and white striped clothes (he himself is shot in monotone) contrast effectively with the background visuals, which range from a massive eye, an explosion, and a trippy experience on the swings at a playground. There’s a nice mention of being “uncomfortably numb”, which could just as easily be an homage to Pink Floyd’s ‘Comfortably Numb’ as Paramore’s ‘Uncomfortably Numb’. Whatever the case, ‘I’m Slipping’ is a perfect introduction to Ryan Smith’s artistry, and the video is mesmerising.
Check out the video for ‘I’m Slipping’ below and follow Ryan Smith online for more about the man and his music on his official website, and Facebook. You can check out The Melismatics online as well on Twitter, and Instagram.