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Ryan VanDordrecht / Press

“It just keeps on rising, whooping its way upwards, it rocks, it’s blue collar rock of Springsteen, Mellencamp etc. Full of the drudgery of modern working man, I mean who isn’t “waiting for their ship to come in”, that can only be pierced by a telecaster and a bottle of beer. It is the antidote to the big hat country of white working class America, Jackson and Urban take note. It is Blur’s ‘Modern Life is Rubbish’ to a country shuffle and with a blue harmonica. Counting Crows, Hootie, Gin Blossom power pop, sonic, overdriven guitars, probably some windmilling ensues. This is genre defining stuff, it builds like thunder as comes to the middle eight and then has a fade to end as all good records annoyingly do.”

“Ryan VanDordrecht’s style is loose, but still serious. His new album Beast of Love has an attitude about it that almost defies description. “Beast of Love” seems almost contradictory, since humans generally connect love to feelings of softness, meekness, and sweetness. But VanDordrecht’s hard love defines the album, at times subtle but often bringing a real rock edge. The opener “Hard Lover” does an excellent job of setting the tone for the rest of the album. His repetitive refrain as the “hard lover” establishes his context for the “beast of love” theme throughout. The combination of layered heavy drums and full band sound show that this is not just a guy and his guitar plinking away at a sweet love song. This is real attitude.”

“Formerly of the bands Castella and Sidestar, Ryan VanDordrecht has readied a solo debut, and Beast of Love reveals the songwriter's talents in straightforward, admirable fashion. Nothing on the record heats up past a low boil, but the laidback, rootsy affair works perfectly well on its own terms, particularly on the twangy "Great American Life" and the boozy barroom slowburn of "I Ain't Coming Home Tonight." Pop smarts are imbued into almost every track, sidestepping the earnest singer/songwriter qualities that could have turned Beast of Love into a navel gazer. Instead, it's a grower, and the re-introduction of a worthwhile local talent.”