There is a lot to like about RYAT's Avant Gold, and it would be easier to like if it were arranged into, um, songs. But like many electronic artists, Christina RYAT prefers to work in tracks. This combination-of-elements approach achieves bursts of electro-pop ecstasy for a few bars at a time, but it ultimately thwarts the forward momentum of her voice. It's like being promised a painting and handed a jigsaw puzzle.
Christina RYAT sounds like a brassier, less affected Bjork—someone who came to the club to have fun rather than mumble weird remarks about animals. It's a voice made for choruses, but its pop horsepower is hobbled here by frantic instrumentals and relentlessly similar drum tracks. Sometimes the parts fire as one machine, as on the danceable "Bells," but mostly they languish as soundscapes, moving what should be a pop album into jungle territory.
Everyone claims to like jungle, but you can't really dance to it. Christina RYAT is capable of better songwriting, and this album proves she has the strong voice and crisp production to back it up. Now we just need a little less avant and a little more gold.
RYAT plays the Badlander Friday, April 1, for KBGA Fools Night Out at 9 PM with Acid Mother's Temple & Melting Paraiso U.F.O., Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers and Victory Smokes. $8 includes bands playing the Palace.