William Ryan Key has become a mastermind in creating pop-punk scores. Having fronted Yellowcard, one of the genre’s most beloved bands, Key has taken his trusted chords and commanded himself a solo status.
With his second EP ‘Virtue’, follow on from debut ‘Thirteen’ earlier this year, Key capitalises on vulnerability and creates an honest and raw record.
The EP opens with ‘The Same Destination’, a hauntingly beautiful piano-driven instrumental. The piece conjures a feeling of floating through space and, although the track is less than two minutes, it is deeply expressive and sets a fitting tone for the rest of the release.
‘The Bowery’ takes its inspiration from the New York neighbourhood where its name is derived from – clearly an ode to a place that has had a significant impact on Key. The EP’s title-track and ‘Downtown (Up North)’ follows suit with further references to New York, doubling up as a love song to the state itself.
What’s impossible to miss on this release is the sheer level of honesty and vulnerability that Key exposes. The aforementioned title-track is everything that the EP does best, and demonstrates Key‘s keen understanding of restraint. The lyrics follow the aftermath of an intense break-up, where the other person has moved on long before the other is ready. Halfway through, the drums intense and add an epic element that really takes it to the next level.
With only six months between his debut solo offering ‘Thirteen’ and ‘Virtue’, Key has shown impressive growth as a solo performer.
Where ‘Thirteen’ was largely stripped back and minimalistic, ‘Virtue’ pushes the boundaries of both lyrical content and craftsmanship. Each track brings a new element into Key‘s life, both musically and personally, and in turn showcases just how talented he really is.