‘Contact’ is the second single to be taken from Ryan Downey’s forthcoming Burke Reid (Julia Jacklin, Courtney Barnett) produced album A TON OF COLOURS,out 14 May via Dot Dash Recordings. Whilst first single ‘Heart Is An Onion’ was a luminous and anthemic art-rock affair, described as “the Cars fronted by Bryan Ferry” (Sunday Times Culture UK – Hottest Tracks), ‘Contact’ shows a more atmospheric and vulnerable side of Downey’s new record.
‘Contact’ balances the stylistic grandeur and deep humanness in Downey‘s raw sophisticated sound, with both these elements mirrored in the single’s accompanying cinematic video co-directed by Downey and filmmaker Alex Badham. Inspired by sci-fi films such as Solaris, High Life and Blade Runner 2049, the video sees a space crew – featuring Downey, his band and manager – hibernating in isolation pods, journeying towards an unknown mission but longing only for the touch of loved ones and the reality of the outside world. The poignant visual gives further weight to Downey’s emotional lyrics such as “Hold me like you want to be held when it’s almost over” and “If I can’t be touched right now, then I need your love.”
Touching on our universal experiences of wanting to escape the cabin-fever fatigue of lockdown, the ‘Contact’ video sees the crew find respite from their tedium and heartache in the therapeutic form of futuristic vapour trips that transport their senses to another time and place. As Downey explains “Sci-fi allows us to see our world through a heightened lens, Alex (Badham) and I had a chance with the video to capture the sentiments that a lot of us went through, and are still going through, in lockdowns.” The result is a cinematic video that takes the viewers mind out of this world whilst carrying an emotional punch. Watch the video below.
Downey‘s forthcoming album A TON OF COLOURS is about humanness – its beauty, its contradictions, and our desire for connection. It is a love letter, of sorts, to the beauty of emotional expression and communication, with love being the conduit for this joy of self-expression. Inspired in the main by Downey’s long-term relationship there’s a soul-sharing vulnerability throughout, found in the aching longing in ‘Contact’ (“If I can’t be touched right now, then I need your love”), the exploration of intoxicating all-consuming love in ‘Sors De Ma Tête’ (“No freedom from dreaming with your eyes on the back of my eyes”), and in the introspective ‘Half Light’ which lays bare feelings of fear and inadequacy (“Fear, you will not own me, but I don’t want to be lonely, I just want to see half-light in full flight”).
Love is presented on A TON OF COLOURS as the multifaceted, visceral and galvanising beast it often is, and musically the record mirrors this in its sonic spectrum – from the chaotic to the delicate …The former found in the anthemic first single ‘Heart Is An Onion’, and the latter found in songs like the gently expanding cascade of ‘Patterns’, and somewhere in-between in the lurching rhythms and minimalist buzz of ‘Same Dream, Every Night’. It heaves, flickers, and radiates with a powerful tenderness. It’s open, adventurous and wants to take you with it.
A TON OF COLOURS is Ryan Downey’s second album following 2018’s debut Runningwhich was nominated for the Australian Music Prize, and saw Downey play a string of headline shows in Australia, as well as support Marlon Williams, Sarah Blasko and Emma Louise across Australia and Europe throughout 2018-19.
It was written and performed by Ryan Downey on vocals, guitars, keys, synths, beats, percussion, with additional instrumentation from Jesse Glass (drums, piano and additional percussion) and Nicolas Roder (bass, Moog). The album was recorded in 2020 at Soundpark Studios, Northcote, Australia. It was produced, engineered, and mixed by Burke Reid, and mastered by Guy Davie at Electric Mastering, London UK.
Ryan Downey – Headline Tour Dates
Friday 9 April – CSU Riverina Playhouse, Wagga Wagga NSW
Friday 16 April – Northcote Social Club, VIC (Early Show) – w/ Ruby Gill – SOLD OUT
Friday 16 April – Northcote Social Club, VIC (Late Show) – w/ Ruby Gill
Saturday 17 April – The Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine VIC – SELLING FAST
Thursday 22 April – The Vanguard, Newtown NSW – w/ Jack Colwell