After playing to 40,000 people with Dermot Kennedy in Belsonic and selling out shows in London, Manchester and Edinburgh, Ryan McMullan couldn’t have chosen a better time to drop a new EP. His latest six track release (dubbed the “Debut” Mix Tape EP) functions not only as a soundtrack for his new documentary of the same name, but also as a taster of what we can expect from his forthcoming album, Redesign.
According to the artist himself, the songs from Debut are older songs that carry a lot of meaning but didn’t make the final cut for the album. Instead they act as part of the soundtrack for “Ryan McMullan: Debut”, a documentary centred around four days of recording and listening in Donegal’s Cruit Island in late 2019, where he and his team worked through the songs that were competing for a spot on the forthcoming album. Peppered throughout is the bigger story of Ryan’s success story to date, including footage from when he toured and gave support to household names like Snow Patrol and Ed Sheeran.
Despite the tracks not making the final album cut, the songs that comprise Debut make a surprisingly strong collection together. Opening track and first single ‘Come Over Love’ is packed with the energy and harmonies that fans have come to expect and love from McMullan, as well as his strong and emphatic voice. ‘Life’s a mess’ continues to showcase this range at the end of the chorus, with his voice effortlessly skimming over multiple notes whilst singing ‘but it still goes on’. Second single ‘Another Minute With You’ details the pain of knowing a relationship is over and accepting it, yet still craving time with them, even if it’s just another sixty seconds.
The most lyrically direct song comes right at the end with the aptly titled ‘Fuck off’, a soft acoustic tune sprinkled with some biting expletives and a chorus remembering a message McMullan once wrote for a certain someone, “Will you just fuck off away on home/Leave me the fuck alone?”, words that you can already hear being belted out by a crowd full of people who can easily relate to such a feeling. With this openness and emotional vulnerability paired with accessible and uplifting melodies, it’s easy to see why Ryan McMullan’s music has appealed to so many, and his charisma and energy rightfully drawing in so much attention from audiences and his peers alike.
The songs on Debut can be seen as a precursor to what’s to come, or simply as bonus tracks for fans to enjoy while they wait for the longer release. In either case, if these are the songs that were left off the album, we can only imagine the standard of tunes that his debut album Redesign will bring when it releases early next year.