Bridget Rian “Nuclear Family”

Independent, 2023

An EP that shows growth in her songwriting and singing and loads of promise.

Bridget Rian describes her music as a mix of alternative pop and traditional Americana. The first song ‘Tokyo Drift’, bobs along in a pleasantly poppy fashion, until an unexpectedly grunge guitar riff wakes things up. She claims the likes of Fiona Apple, Tori Amos, and Sara Bareilles as influences, and this song bears that out.

Single ‘Milk’ has a slightly tougher guitar lick opening but becomes a very Fiona Apple love song. “If my skin were milk, you would drink it,” being a typical line. Slightly morbid, but sweet. Rian sees herself as “a riveting storyteller through song”. ‘Super 8’ is where it works best on this EP. The narrative is reflected by bells that end up sounding like rain falling on the road trip of the lyrics.

The truth is that she is still perfecting her craft, but producer Paul Moak has worked hard to inject some life into songs like ‘Sydney Sweeney’, which would be a little bland but for the drums and synths driving the tune along. Where ‘Super 8’ is probably the best piece of songwriting, ‘Sydney Sweeney’ is the most satisfying song on the EP. The single release, also included here as a bonus track is of an almost totally different, and vastly superior, version of the song. Rian and her team have managed to take the best song here and create two different but equally valid versions of it.

The final track ‘Back To Her’ is a breakup song. The music has been kept simple to put the emphasis on the words. Those words are well observed but offer no startling insights. But do they have to, this is, whatever label you put on it, a pop song, and like the rest of the EP really has no pretension to be anything other than a set of pleasant songs. Her press reports that “In high school, my choir teacher pulled me aside and showed me badass women singer-songwriters. That was it my life was changed and that’s when I started to develop my musical taste and become addicted to songwriting.” And there’s no doubt that Bridget Rian is already a decent writer of songs, and you won’t regret spending time with her music. Listening back to her previous work, ‘Nuclear Family’ is a major step forward from her earlier songs. She has a good band and is working with a producer who can bring out the best in her voice and songs. What that means for the future is that she can focus on perfecting her craft and explore her own voice.


About Tim Martin 220 Articles
Sat in my shed listening to music, and writing about some of it. Occasionally allowed out to attend gigs.
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