The music of The Heaven Switch is all about getting down to earth. L.A. songwriter Ryan Calhoun’s pop-rock project offers electric guitars, Ahab-size hooks and a whole lot of heart: “Don’t care that you’re messy,” he sings in “Trainwreck.” (Dude clearly hasn’t seen our desk.) But he seems like a sweetheart: “I’d knock out Mike Tyson, too/Right in his dumb tattoo,” he sings in “Raise A Flag.” That’s devotion. Also, a really bad idea: Mike Tyson was a professional boxer! File that under: The things you never forget after watching “The Hangover” 10 times.
Chances are The Heaven Switch has already pushed your buttons: Calhoun’s songs have been in “One Tree Hill,” “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” “Real World” and “Real Talk, Every Other Show You Watch.” (We may have made that last one up.) His melodic sound touches on the upbeat anthems of vintage Matchbox Twenty and Plain White T’s, with whom he shares producer Bill Lefler -– as well as Mike Green, who’s worked with Beyoncé and Paramore. Calhoun shows his softer side, too, going acoustic for mid-album future chart-toppers “Fault Lines” and “Someday.”
The scary thing is he almost pawned off his music career: Ryan had to sell a truckload of gear to pay the bills after a relationship went sour. (We’re here for you, Ryan! As long as you don’t mind the giant piles of laundry on the couch, but you did already say you were cool with it, right?)
While we’re cleaning up, The Heaven Switch’s self-titled debut drops Jan. 24.
+ Listen to The Heaven Switch.