Ryn Weaver is set on track to be one of this year’s most talked about pop artists. She has received a massive boost in popularity after the release of her single OctaHate and EP Promises. Her voice, similar to that of Florence Welch or Lana Del Rey, is instantly captivating and draws the listener in. Her debut album, The Fool, uses her vocal capability to its advantage, as it contains both bombastic dance-pop songs and slower, more folky moments.
The album gets off to an excellent start. Runaway captures our attention with its glitch-y pop opening, before Weaver’s vocals build up from hushed to powerful, with hooks that show off just how remarkable her range and voice is. It is this song, as well as the title track The Fool that has a hint of Florence + The Machine’s sound, thus is likely to interest their fans. OctaHate, which Weaver co-wrote with pop songstress Charli XCX, has a memorable, twinkly pop intro. This combines with stomping drums before merging into a dance pop chorus. It’s an impressive track, but it’s difficult to define what kind of style Weaver is aiming for. The next track, Pierre, is my personal favourite. The instrumentals have a slight folky tinge to them, as Weaver sings about various lovers she has met and her reluctance to commit. She tells us of a bass player who is “Kinda quiet but his body ain’t”, a “vagabond”, and the eponymous Pierre, who speaks in “broken English”. These lovers don’t hang around for long, but that suits Weaver just fine. Pierre is a hedonistic, fast-paced song that contains all the best elements of the album so far; a good balance of drums, catchy lyrics and Weaver’s stunning vocals. It also sets the theme for most of the album; the sense of not really having anywhere to settle down, moving from place to place and lover to lover.
After the rush of Pierre, the songs become more slow-paced. Stay Low and Sail On are twinkly, sleepy ballads, but they seem to lose momentum compared to the tumult of OctaHate and Pierre. Nevertheless, they continue with the idea of Weaver being a wanderer with no solid ground. The pace picks up again with title track The Fool, in which Weaver’s voice hooks you in immediately. Promises, a track from her previous EP is equally as powerful. Its melodic instruments and crisp production makes it a true pop song and a joy to listen to. It appears that the sparkly, energetic pop songs are where Weaver is in her element.
While the end of the album doesn’t have as much impact as the start, it still rounds off Weaver’s narrative nicely. There’s a tinge of nostalgia to Travelling Song, in which the acoustic production complements Weaver’s tale. She sings about the words of a childhood friend a cappella “He told me that I was Apollo 13 / On the very last day he said shoot for your dreams”. Her voice breaks almost out of sadness, or a longing for this youthful optimism. Though the lyrics of Here is Home seem to suggest that Weaver is ready to settle down, in New Constellations she emphasises her desire to move on again.
The Fool is a solid debut from Ryn Weaver. It clearly shows that her strengths lie in making powerful, soaring pop melodies, accompanied by her incredible voice. Yet some of the songs (Stay Low, Sail On, Here is Home) don’t really fit this description. She doesn’t want to settle down in her lyrics, and in turn she hasn’t seemed to have settled on a consistent style. Still, despite occasional lulls and an erratic pace, there’s no awful song on this album, and Weaver has definitely set the foundations for a great pop career. It’s worth a listen even if just to marvel at her voice.