Album Review: Raleigh Ritchie 'You're A Man Now, Boy'
‘You’re A Man Now, Boy’ is an album that draws you in from the very instant it begins and although some of the tracks have featured on previous Raleigh Ritchie EP’s, it still feels very fresh. Opener ‘Werld Is Mine’ is a powerful and passionate introduction and it sets the tone for the rest of the project beautifully. It also launches us straight into the album’s main theme - love. The overriding theme of love is exquisitely laced into the inner-lining of this release, managing to conjure a truly modern and contemporary feeling of love in the 21st century, whilst avoiding the potential pitfalls of being written off as simply another R&B album.
Ritchie is more than just a vocalist and at times, his vocals even begin to transform into raps, such is the brilliant fusion of his style. ‘I Can Change’ features a clear demonstration of this semi-rap style that helps him stand out from the crowd and it also showcases the strength of his vocal range too. His magnificent falsetto, which can also be heard in the piano-infused ‘Young & Stupid’, is a stunning addition to his vocal arsenal and further displays Ritchie’s incredible passion which drives this release.
‘Stronger Than Ever’ and title track ‘You’re A Man Now, Boy’ are the most powerfully emotive tracks on the album, both featuring dramatic rises and falls before eventually building to intense climactic endings. The orchestral instrumental of the prior is truly noteworthy and wouldn’t find itself amiss in a thrilling cinematic film trailer. With lyrics such as “pain is still a weakness, still afraid of ghosts / still partial to a mars bar and a sunday roast” on the title track, the Bristol-born artist reveals a loveable openness in his music, confessing sincere thoughts but wrapping them up with witty humour to provide a softer impact, something which he does regularly throughout the album.
Upbeat and anthemic track ‘The Greatest’, electro-inspired ‘A Moor’ and the engrossing ‘Never Better’ provide a real cutting edge feel to the release, whilst the hypnotically addictive ‘Cowards’ is the album’s biggest standout track, exhibiting Ritchie’s willingness to experiment with his sound and not be tied down to one area.
Proving that he’s an all-round talent, ‘You’re A Man Now, Boy’ is an incredible way to mark the humble beginning of an emotionally honest and sensitive artist on the mainstream stage and Raleigh Ritchie’s raw-yet-tender style is a joy to behold. Sure to catch the ear of new fans and current loyalists alike, this album will set the foundations for an exciting and boundary-pushing career in the UK music spotlight for a long while to come.
Words: Matt Tarr
Online Edit: Ra'ed Khan