Leave Me Like You Found Me
Sunshine, the sound of an open major chord on an acoustic guitar, ushers in Leave Me Like You Found Me. Shadows depart at the sound of the slow strum; the morning light shines brightly, illuminating the music. William Ryan Fritch takes inspiration from Adele Romanski’s study of two former lovers who decide to get back together. They ‘just want to feel okay again’. The multi-instrumentalist liberates the wide canon of classic rock music, taking it from its drunken, distorted abuse and cleaning it up with his own colourful sound. Rock’s battle cry is deconstructed; historic riffs and euphoric licks are re-arranged into sun burst, contemporary anthems.
Rock music’s twisted, torturous past is given a lovely, rose-tinted makeover. Mascara runs over its rough wounds, which have left scars over the skin of the music thanks to decades of distortion, smoothing out the surface with a seductive, clean tone. Like the lovers, the music leaves behind highly personal, emotional jet trails that linger in the air long after her physical presence has gone. Her perfumed scent haunts the air. Music can’t entirely separate herself from her past; she always changes, but the process of evolution is a long one – longer than the decade that originally birthed the genre – and it’s important to point out that every style of music has its fair share of outside influences.
Fritch plays around with his acoustic instrumentation; where the indulgence of classic rock meets the soft, quiet modesty of modern classical music. It’s the drunken ex-girlfriend who calls you at 1 in the morning after you’ve just met the quiet girl of your dreams in the local library.
The authentic, vintage tones of the past bleed into the ‘nostalgic warmth of magnetic tape’. They make for perfect companions. You’d have thought that the intensity of rock music would act as the primary thrust, but Fritch’s soaring vocals – absent of lyrics – and the decimating drums are the real forces at work. The electric guitar’s string bends slightly dissolve in the narrow cut of the tape, its wound seeping out into the present with its clean, clear melody emerging from its hibernation. The two genres want to get together; the music is hopeful and warm to the point of being tropical.
Fritch’s music is a dense jungle of warm, open sound, as explosive as napalm. The jangly progression of ‘Half-Awake in Slow Motion’ lilts in its own lush paradise. A string bend, along with vibrato, wins the award for the guitar’s most expressive outlet. They can be used to punish the music, cry out in protest or weep in sadness, but this track opens our eyes to the technique’s other side, to its tranquil beauty. A strange kind of suspension is created, where rock music’s anvil weight is taken away. It’s kind on the ear, but it’s capable of provoking a ferocious storm. Those once tender kisses turn to sharp knives, which are in turn used to stab a lover in the back.
Like the lovers, the ghostly power chords continue to haunt the place long after the original decade, and the original love, has come to an end.