Crisp, crunchy pop would be an accurate description of Ryan Cassata’s newest release, Shine. This 22-year old Long Island native has already issued four full-length albums since 2011 and now, he’s breaking new creative ground with this 10 track collection that runs the gamut of pop styles.
Starting with the slightly wry “We’re The Cool Kids” (“…we’re changing things and we’re leading this movement; we’re gonna prove it that we’re the cool kids…”), which sounds like a mix of Green Day and The Pixies, you’re immediately drawn into the sheer catchiness of the song; “Check Engine” feels like a spoof of modern pop with electro-drum track and rap/sung and the subject matter (to me) seems like a gripe about the struggles of a middle-class suburban teen (which is quite funny) as “Sunrise Highway” is just impossibly great with its tight and galloping rhythm and slaughter/buzzsaw guitars, punctuated by horn charts in classic pop-rock style. “Man In The Mirror”, the old Michael Jackson composition, gets a gentle, sympathetic acoustic treatment which gives a genuine poignancy to the song; “Alcatraz” starts as a quick paced country shuffle and one of those songs you actually tap your foot along to in time, although the choruses kick it up to a different realm with some tastefully heavy guitars and rollicks the rest of the way and “Round Here” closes the album with a sweet, lilting piano and vocal – stripped down, dramatic and powerful.
Not bad for someone so young, although he does now have five albums under his belt. Certainly Ryan Cassata has something and this album is a good indication of what that something is: a knack for writing memorable songs and making each one stand out individually within the context of an album. And that takes talent.
Shine is currently available