Scratch Kamstra All Fall Down

Toronto’s Ryan Kamstra is a multimedia renaissance man. Having already published books and collaborated on short films, he is now turning his hand to the world of music. He uses a variety of terms to describe his own music, citing influences such as folk, punk and glam, but the most obvious one is definitely folk. With just an acoustic guitar to accompany his expressive voice, this is an old-fashioned record that could have come out any time during the past decade, maybe even longer than that. Each song is a narrative with a tale to tell sometimes the story lasts for seven minutes, but they don’t drag. And he has a poet’s ear for language, playing with the words. The closest comparison that jumps to mind is early Ani DiFranco, but that downplays the originality of both artists. All Fall Down is a sprawling album that shouldn’t work as well as it does. 74 minutes of simply voice and acoustic guitar is a daunting prospect but, for the most part, the songs are interesting enough to keep you listening. It still takes a lot of stamina to make it through the whole thing in one sitting, but the sheer ambition of All Fall Down turns it into an impressive achievement.