single review ~ 'holding me down' ~ ryan mcmullan

Name: Ryan McMullan
Genre: Acoustic
For Fans Of: James Bay, Foy Vance
Location: Portaferry

Encore NI is already well acquainted with the soothing tones of Ryan McMullan. The young singer-songwriter was kind enough to headline one of our Modern Life Is Rubbish shows, putting on as excellent a performance as you'd expect. His debut single, "Holding Me Down" (released this week), is a rousing affair of accentuated acoustic guitar, sparse arrangements and McMullan's voice at full pelt. The song has for a long time been regarded highly by his fans, and sounded wonderful within the grand confines of the Ulster Hall, supporting Richi Sambora of Bon Jovi fame.

In short, "Holding Me Down" has became the safety rope within his set ~ a big hitter of mass approval. Catchy, engaging and showing off the top of his range like no other, it was a natural choice to pioneer his recording career. Having said this, there were some concerns. So much of the Portaferry native's live set revolves around his talents with a loop pedal. Allowing his songs to grow mid performance, it has almost became a trademark. Would this track, now given the room to breathe, blossom in a studio environment? Or would it wither? Thankfully it's the former in this case as "Holding Me Down"s stomping chorus is given extra gravitas with the violin overdubs it has been crying out for. Nursing a new folkier exterior, the track also avoids the mandatory single trap of time management. Or rather, it doesn't overstay it's welcome. Coming in at just under three minutes, Ryan McMullan has crafted a near perfect pop tune, enough to spark a mass singalong ~ which you imagine would work just as well opening a show, as closing it.

Critically it's 'Wild West' maraca intro and embellishments is more 'Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds' than Travelling Wilburys. (Not that there's anything wrong with George Harrison's super group...we just can't imagine many leather jackets and motorcycles at a Ryan McMullan gig)

Like a third round FA Cup tie against a lower league side, recording this tubthumping single was surely harder than it looked. For Ryan McMullan however, it's a test he's passed with ease.

Taylor Johnson

Watch the official music video below⁞►

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