Ryan's Hope - Weighing What Matters (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Ryan's Hope

Weighing What Matters (2002)


Ryan's Hope is still a virtually unheard of band outside of Chicagoland, with their hometown being Joliet, IL. But since their formation less than a year ago, they have been working hard to change that by playing a ton of shows and releasing good music like on this album. A short summary of their bio would be: hardcore guys fed up with that local scene decide to form a melodic punk band. They decided they wanted to make music that could include a wider range of their influences, and the result is a nice blend of great vocal melodies, fast rockers, slower/quiet intros and breakdowns, and the occasional hardcore riff.

Terry, the lead singer and guitarist of the Ryan's Hope lists one of his favorite bands as the Smoking Popes, and you can really hear that coming through on a lot of the tracks, including "So Far," which contains a Popes-like simple and effective vocal melody, a sweet guitar solo, and then a harder ending. "Nick Springer," one of my favorite tracks, includes a great guitar riff in the bridge that is pulled off with ease even live, and songs like "Reasoning" showcase their hardcore C-tuning.

There are a few downsides to Weighing What Matters, like the length. With 9 tracks totaling just shy of 22 minutes, this is more of an EP than the full-length they claim it is. It leaves me wanting more, and I guess I'll get it since they're recording a 5 song EP next month. Another slight downside is the sound quality of the disc, even though it is quite good for being completely self-funded. Along the same lines, the disc isn't that good looking, with a sticker label on the CD and booklets with an almost unreadable pixel-y font. Hopefully they'll get a deal soon and put out a pretty-lookin' disc.

Musically, Ryan's Hope has a lot of what you look for in bigger bands, with their catchy melodies over of a wide range of volume/intensities and tempos. This is not the best album I've ever heard, but it's really good for a band so new on the scene and I can only foresee them getting better.