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For an artist whose career began 20 years ago, Matthew Ryan is getting attention of late as if he’s the new kid in town. The Chester, Pennsylvania native received some of the best notices of his career for his 2014 album Boxers, a collection of chest-pounding rockers and desolate ballads that showcased his anthemic songwriting and hoarse-throated vocals to great effect.
His newest release, Hustle Up Starlings, continues in that vein, with some subtle changes. Brian Fallon, who guested on Boxers, is aboard as the producer this time around, and The Gaslight Anthem frontman, a kindred songwriting spirit to Ryan, knows how to play up his strengths. By dialing down the guitars a notch or two, Fallon assures that Ryan’s tales of lost love and broken promise have a lot more room to echo off the relentless backbeat of the uptempo numbers.