A great moniker can get your music pretty far. Names like East India Youth, Burial, and Factory Floor ask many questions that can only be answered by listening. On Three Love Songs, Sam Ray’s Ricky Eat Acid used slow-building, heavy payoff loops that were as hypnotic as his stage name suggests. Other tracks like ‘In My Dreams we’re Almost Touching’ took it even further by building up not only instrumentation, but dynamic tension in sample-heavy glory.

On Talk to You Soon, Ray attempt to cover too many bases. From pop idolatry to glitchy madness, the tunes here are fulfilling the full weight of their bloated titles like ‘Spinning About Under the Bright Light in Bliss’. We’re left overwhelmed, wondering if his recent history of self-releasing one-off tracks and EPs may be a tactic worth sticking to.

This album works as a way to jumble, almost forcibly so, each of Ray’s influences into a full-length mix. From the two year-old highlight ‘Pull’ to the hardcore punk screams of Wreck & Reference on ‘As We Speak’, there’s few places this record doesn’t reach. With patience, you can group certain songs into more cohesive sections like pop, sample-based, and experimental electronic. Without patience, it’s one of the most difficult records of the year despite soft and digestible moments like ‘On a Good Day’.

Whether Ray is attempting to nab some lucrative sync rights on tracks like ‘Call My Name’, it’s tough to say. These tracks scream car commercial or movie trailer too hard to be taken seriously. The jittery trap snares and flimsy synths on ‘Call My Name’ come to their full effect within the first 30 seconds. Simply taking the time to crescendo would have done wonders for the track. It also isn’t near similar tracks like ‘hey’, which celebrates unearned peaks and synth hooks. By the time nine other tracks have gone by, it takes pains to remember that you’ve already seen this set of Ray’s toolbox.

Conversely we see excellent short blips like ‘_)_’ whose smooth 6/8 feel begs to go on longer. However, its fleeting charms sneak into other songs like a disease. ‘Climbing Up the Big Red Tree’ brandishes warm 64-bit tones, but fades away abruptly before expanding on the finest legato tones and backwards loops the record has to offer. This is in contrast to the lovely ‘Nice to See You’, which plays with a gurgling chug that’s a first for Ricky Eat Acid. It breaks from the head for a short burst of string drama before dropping the dance beat again. Since only a couple of quality ideas are at play, its 3:19 play time hits the spot. This works much worse for 10 weak ideas in an even shorter song. like ‘hey’’s employment of arpeggiating strings, chipmunk vocal samples, airhorns, and Jock Jams blips all rolling themselves out on the mix at once like so many firing nerves.

Adding to the excessiveness is the obtusely romantic ‘Fucking to Songs on Radios’. Sex is represented by the repeated vocal, longing is represented the vocoder, and a fun beat comes in and out at the right moments to keep your attention across three and a half minutes. Ray’s capability to create pop soundscapes this positive shines an ugly light on distended cuts like ‘As We Speak’. Despite the crude title, ‘Fucking…’ is a great song. Conversely, not even words like ‘Spinning About Under the Bright Light in Bliss’ can save our ears from the assault of overlaid Avant-classical piano loops in the middle of an independent electronic album. What could possibly have been the point here?

With repeated listens of Talk to You Soon, it becomes apparent that Ray wasn’t trying to achieve some higher maxim of album music. He’s become a victim of album anticipation culture. When ‘Pull’ first dropped two years ago, it was a refreshing blast of Three Love Songs follow-up that had us wanting more Ricky Eat Acid. Turns out that wanting was more fun than the payout Talk to You Soon ended up offering.