Album Review Reviews

Review:: First Year On Earth | First Year On Earth


From what I’ve read in recent days, Ryan Murphy is not the type to let things hold him back. Moving to New York City with nothing more than his bucket list and a backpack, with his dream of becoming a recording artist as the top goal, Murphy let his ambition bring him to the city, with his heart eventually calling him elsewhere, leading him to a new home in Texas. Prompted by tragedy and driven by the simple question what would you do with your last year on earth?, Murphy set out to provide himself with not only answers, but a chance to make a name for himself.

Murphy’s singer/songwriter style, paired with the jazz and country upbringings of his trio of bandmates, provides the husk for First Year On Earth’s sound. The combination of alehouse piano and loose acoustics on opener “Georgia,” set as support for homesick, lovesick lyrics makes for a captivating introductory track. Murphy’s vocals are both clean and unpolished, hitting soft notes when needed, letting his voice soar when he has to make a point stick. Follow-up “I Want To (I Do)” showcases this further, this time set
to slower, softer piano and light percussion work.

Where the opening pair of tracks are [comparably] slower, the closing two are their foil. “Poor Man” kicks in right away, thumping and strumming and whistling away. Murphy sets aside the idea of the glitz and glamour lifestyle, singing about what life on the road is really like – “just in case you think I do alright / strumming guitars, singing late at night / I’m sure this won’t be a huge shock / but these shoes are the only ones I’ve got.” What’s
better than him shedding light on the reality of it is him hoping people can focus more on living the life for the passion of it rather than the perks – “You should ignore diamond rings / or that pack of fools chasing fancy things / if you want cash, go and join that line / ‘cause we can get more money, you can never get more time.” Damn right.

Closer “The Best Is Yet to Come” acts as both a finale and a beginning. While it wraps up the short EP, it suggests, or better yet urges, that bigger and better things are still on their way. It’s a basic thought that I’m sure almost anyone has had – “I don’t feel I’ve done enough / well, I’m still young / maybe my best is yet to come;” simple, succinct, optimistic, and relatable.

This project began with asking what would you do with your last year on earth. With that question, it brings with it the thoughts of mortality, endings, etc. You know, those
sorts of things. It was all about your last year on earth, what you would try to do before
things came to an end. This EP takes things in the opposite direction – what are you going to do from here?

Release Date: June 25th, 2015
Runtime: 19:43
Rating: 3.5/5

Track listing:
01. “Georgia”
02. “I Want To (I Do)”
03. “Poor Man”
04. “The Best Is Yet to Come”
Bonus Track: “Good Girls”

First Year On Earth is:
Ryan Murphy: Acoustic guitar, vocals
Kris Afflerbaugh: Bass, vocals
Jordan Birchill: Guitar, vocals
Jimmy Milner: Drums

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