New Audio: JOVM Mainstays RYAL Share a Swooning Bop

Jacque Ryal is a New York-based singer/songwriter, keyboardist and pop artist, who first emerged onto the local scene as a member of pop outfit Strip Darling. She then stepped out into the limelight as a solo artist, who crafted Portishead-inspired trip-hop. 

RYAL, the New York-based artist’s latest project with producer and songwriter Aaron Nevezie has recieved attention from The Best Line of Best FitTime Out New YorkLadyGunnPopdust, this site and elsewhere  for releasing material that’s been compared to Little Dragon and the aforementioned Portishead.

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Best Friend,” a slickly produced bop built around glistening synth arpeggios, skittering beats, shimmering bursts of guitar and Ryal’s plaintive delivery paired with random puppy noises and the duo’s unerring knack for razor sharp hooks. Initially written as a lullaby dedicated to Ryal’s beloved dog and best friend, who died, “Best Friend” gradually morphed into a dreamy yet anthemic bop. But just underneath the big choruses and catchy hooks, the song captures the unique and profound relationship one has with their animal companions.

RYAL’s latest single “What I Mean To You” is inspired by the full band set up of their previous releases, and sees the duo collaborating yet again with Marcy Playground’s and Norah Jones’ Dan Rieser (drums) and Grammy Award-winner John Davis (bass). Centered around a punchy and propulsive rhythm section, twinkling keys and Ryal’s plaintive and yearning delivery, “What I Mean To You” is a swooning and hook-driven bop that seemingly comes from lived-in, personal experience.

“What I Mean To You” thematically finds its narrator grappling with a relationship on the brink. Throughout the song, the narrator tries to save their relationship through affirmations of safety, love and fidelity — and the determination to make the effort and do the work to maintain it. It’s a much needed burst of light, yet earnest sweetness in an all too often harsh world.