No, you don’t have to be a guy to make good pop-rock music. Kelley Ryan and company have already dispelled that notion with their first release, You Win the Bride . On this new release, as on the last, Ryan combines good hooks, smart lyrics, and an engaging vocal style to build an album of sparse yet energetic songs that rival most all of her male counterparts work. She, along with Maureen Serrao and Steve Toland, wrote most of the songs on this release. They also do a righteous cover of Marshall Crenshaw’s “Crowded Town.” Ryan produced and recorded this release herself, so it’s mostly a showcase for her talents. These songs will stick in your head, so be sure you want ’em in there before you give it a listen.
Hightone Records, 220 4th St. #101, Oakland, CA 94607; http://www.hightone.com