Alien Circus: Ryan B. Case

Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
This is what good music sounds like. A little bit country, a little bit folk, and some rock and roll added into the mix. Definitely a little bit of a Tom Petty influence. I am sure that is becoming cliche after his untimely death, but this was well in the works prior to Petty’s passing. This is no bandwagon jumping. This is authenticity. Ryan’s writing is very good. He has the talent to take mundane events and make great songs out of them. Not easy to do, but Ryan does it with ease.
In a town with enough singer songwriters to employ every restaurant from Broadway to the Gulch, Ryan B. Case rises above the rest. His writing is observant, humorous, and catchy. I even hear a good bit of early punk, similar to the late 70s Elvis Costello. Ryan definitely has the swagger and attitude in his writing also reminiscent of those 80’s alternative days. 
One song that exhibits some good Americana sound, along with a late 80s-early 90s alternative vibe is none other than Over The Edge (Track 6). This song has muscle, a bit of twang, and perfect pop sensibilities. If one song on this collection has hit potential, I would say it is this one. This is what pop music should sound like. Ryan makes sure pop is not a dirty word. Pop can be great music, as Ryan proves.
The collection ends on a very upbeat note with Lucky (Track 10). Another song with more than modest hit potential. It has what it takes. Good lyrics, powerful vocals, and a catchy tune. A real trifecta. Gonna give it another listen. It is an upbeat song about hope and being thankful for where we are right now. A good song to write about on this day before Thanksgiving. 
I actually can say I learned a little bit of history tonight. Dan Sickles (And The Temporary Insanity – Track 5) recounts the true story of Dan Sickels, the first user of the temporary insanity plea. Not only did Ryan uncover a real historical nugget, but he created a very smart, entertaining song as well. Sometimes history and songwriting don’t mix. Not so, in this case. I would say they blend famously. 
If you like indy, as I do, you will love this. Not just because it is a real DIY project, but because the music is great. And that is what it’s all about. It makes it more meaningful to listen to a great release when you know it truly was independent and didn’t have any big backing behind it. That makes this even more praise worthy.
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