William Ryan Key brings us Virtue

The end of a favourite band can be tough – especially when they’ve been around since your teen years and you’re definitely not a teenager anymore. It’s not like their music is going anywhere, but there’s a sense of loss that comes from knowing that the sounds so familiar to you will never come together again for something new, or for live performances.

I’m unlikely to be alone in saying that the voice of William Ryan Key has, over the years, come to feel like home to me. There is deep comfort to be found in those warm and distinctive tones, and captivating, soulful lyrics; Key’s return to music with debut solo EP ‘Thirteen’ earlier this year could not have been more welcomed.

Six months later, second EP ‘Virtue’ feels like another universe. The gently atmospheric introduction of ‘The Same Destination’ leads into five of the strongest tracks Key has written in a twenty year career; the assured and delicate work of someone who has truly settled into his new identity as solo artist. Key’s influences are broad, but his love of ambient instrumental melodies of artists like Explosions In The Sky and Hammock are evident – it’s moving in ways that are hard to put into words, opening a doorway into Key’s world where colours swirl and harmonies swell in perfect motion.

‘Virtue’ is a heartrendingly beautiful collection of songs, the perfect remedy to a frantic and intense world. Trust me when I say that it calls for a set of ear-enveloping headphones and all the time you have spare. This EP represents a new chapter for Key, and for us too; a wonderful and altogether personal journey into a new musical atmosphere. Yellowcard fan or not, this is an adventure you’ll want to be a part of.


WRK will be touring the UK with This Wild Life from Tuesday 29 January, starting in Birmingham and ending in Brighton on Saturday 9 February. Full information on dates and tickets, including VIP upgrades, are available here.