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Paula RyanPaula Ryan
Album: Let Me Fly
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 12

I first came across Paula Ryan via a single, "O My Blue Eyed" a song timed to coincide with Armistice Day and feels like it's eavesdropping on a conversation just prior to a departure for World War One, a song that was ultimately shortlisted for Fatea Song Of The Year and saw Paula invited onto the Fatea Showcase Sessions.

"Let Me Fly" is the first full length album from Paula that I've managed to hear and it hit the cd player with a high level of expectation attached to it. One of the main reasons for that is that I was already aware that the title track is written about one of my heroines, Amy Johnson, and one thing I really enjoy a good narrative in song, this doesn't disappoint. What I wasn't expecting was the sheer variety across the album.

"Let Me Fly" is a people and places album, but it's also one that comes at you unbound to a particular style or even instrument, in fact about the only constant is Paula's voice, one which carries real expression and does so with a slight Irish lilt.

Some of the tracks have a distinct political overtones, reflecting some of the towering personalities that helped shape the world, but importantly there is a much care and thought in the songs about more mundane things like enjoying the craic with friends.

This is an album where variety is king. Across the twelve tracks there is a real mix of time signatures, shades of light and dark as well as a whole host of instruments taking the lead. If you think that makes this sound more like a compilation, far from it, "Let Me Fly" works incredibly well as album, this is not musical pick and mix, though the songs do work on their own, more a well penned album that has been thought through and tastes balanced.

Neil King