Rich Ragany, You Can Get Dark With Me – Review

Fast forward to 2024 and whilst formulaic pop may dominate the charts, this sort of music is really making a resurgence.

GENRE: Indie Rock

LABEL: Barrel & Squidger

RELEASE DATE: June 14 2024

MEMBERS: 

RICH RAGANY – Lead And Harmony Vocals, Acoustic and Electric Guitar, Piano and Keyboards 

With… 

SIMON MAXWELL – Drums And Percussion  

RICKY MCGUIRE– Bass

ANDY BROOK – Piano on “Alive Anyways” and “The Great Nothing”.  Harmony Vocals on “Sierra Bonita” and “The Great Nothing”, Drum Programming on “The Great Nothing”

RUSSELL BROOM – Additional Guitars on “Empty And Free”, “You Can Get Dark With Me” and “Sierra Bonita”.  Bass and drum programming on “Sierra Bonita”. Keyboards on “You Can Get Dark With Me”

KIT SWING – Harmony vocals on “Empty And Free” & “Reach Out”

KEN MOCHIKOSHI-HORNE – Additional guitar on “A Pleasant Fiction”

MADDIE LEE – Duet Vocals on “You Can Get Dark With Me”

TRACK LISTING

  • EMPTY AND FREE
  • A PLEASANT FICTION
  • YOU CAN GET DARK WITH ME
  • SIERRA BONITA
  • TRAGIC CELEBRATION
  • REACH OUT
  • THE GREAT NOTHING
  • SHINE AROUND ME
  • WE’RE ALIVE ANYWAY
  • WORTH

Before I’ve even written a word in relai0n to the review, I find myself at some 154 words in the article. I highlight this to draw attention to the number of musicians supporting Rich Ragany on this solo album release from the former Role Models, The Loyalties and more recently Rich Ragany & The Digressions frontman. A stalwart of the London music scene, one where everyone looks out for everyone else and comes together, Avengers style, when needed to write, record, perform, collaborate and more on each others’ albums. Fans of Ragany’s work will recognise most of the people listed above and smile, safe in the knowledge that Andy Brook is once again involved, that Kit Swing adds her wonder voice to a couple of tracks, and that Simon and Ricky from The Digressions make a welcome return as well. 

Elsewhere, Ken Mochikoshi-Horne, guitarist with  US punk outfit The Bronx, makes an appearance on the album’s lead single ‘A Pleasant Fiction’. All of which adds up to giving the listener something new, something special yet something so familiar that it feels like part of the family from the off. 

Listening to Rich sing, I’m drawn to find comparisons to Stiv Bator, the greatly missed lead singer of Lords of The New Church. Stiv may have left this planet some 30 odd years ago yet his inspiration to other artists is often heard to this day and on ‘You Can Get Dark With Me’, Rich channels Stiv’s softer side without losing any of the bite we’ve come to expect from both artists. I’d even go as far to say that Rich should have been fronting the reformed ‘Lords’ at the 2023 Vive Le Rock Awards, where the job ultimately went to Stiv’s old friend Michael Monroe. How that would have turned out with Ragany out front…. who knows but I’d have loved to have seen it!

‘Empty And Free’ opens the album with a touch of Noel Gallagher’s guitar flare with a dash of Cast’s Jon Power thrown into the mix as well. For a Canadian, Rich’s music feels as truly British as we could hope for. We’re a nation known for guitar driven music and it’s clear from the off that if this was the mid-90s then Ragany would be selling millions and headlining Wembley Arena. Fast forward to 2024 and whilst formulaic pop may dominate the charts, this sort of music is really making a resurgence. One only has to look at the albums heading to the top of the album charts to see that ‘proper’ bands playing ‘real’ instruments are back in vogue once more and with his experience in the various outfits of the last decade or so, it’s safe to suggest that Rich has picked exactly the right time to release his solo album. 

‘A Pleasant Fiction’ contains a smattering of REM’isms especially on some of the guitar work which reminds me of ‘Losing My Religion’ but it’s his vocal work that makes the song truly his and it’s that then that pushes hard into the brain, leaving you with a track that you find yourself still singing, long after you’ve switched the stereo off. 

Maddie Lee brings some beautiful harmonies to the album’s title track and makes me want to do a mix-tape for the other half with this song firmly embedded on it. One which on the surface is full of beauty and light but when listened to and absorbed contains a much deeper and personal message for those that need to hear it. 

Russell Broom shines on ‘Sierra Bonita’, taking on bass work, drum programming, additional guitars and more, giving the track a completely different vibe and proof yet again that our man Ragany can turn his hand in many directions when it comes to penning a tune. Whilst the album is unmistakably Rich, it shows a different side to him, one that’s more considered, more reflective, and definitely more open. It’s not a navel gazing exercise by any means, instead it’s an album of heart on sleeve moments from a man willing to share his thoughts with those closest to him, with those that have followed him for years and while he’s at it, anyone else willing to give up 35 minutes of their time as well. It’s a winning formula, a combination of songs that make the listener think as much as they will sing along and dance to each of the 10 songs on offer. 

If you’re expecting a hard hitting heavy punk n roll album , you’re not going to get it. If you follow the man, his voice, his music and his passion for music then you’ll love this very personal album. With upcoming live shows looking back over the last ten years of his career, this is the perfect choice of music to get you in the mood. An album that makes you #grateful to have been around at a time when it was written. 

There are two upcoming launch shows as well: 

June 14 Huddersfield, The Parsh INFO

June 15 London, The Black Heart INFO

You Can Pre-order ‘You Can Get Dark With Me’ HERE:

Score: 9/10

Reviewed by Adrian Hextall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our recent interview with Rich can be found here: 

About Author

 
Categories
Album ReleasesAlbum ReviewsNews
HEILUNG’S LIVE SPECTACLE AT THE RIVERSIDE THEATER IN MILWAUKEE, WI ON SAT, APRIL 20TH, 2024: AN IMMERSIVE JOURNEY OF SOUND, STORY, AND SPIRIT
HEILUNG’S LIVE SPECTACLE AT THE RIVERSIDE THEATER IN MILWAUKEE, WI ON SAT, APRIL 20TH, 2024: AN IMMERSIVE JOURNEY OF SOUND, STORY, AND SPIRIT

HEILUNG’S LIVE SPECTACLE AT THE RIVERSIDE THEATER IN MILWAUKEE, WI ON SAT, APRIL 20TH, 2024: AN IMMERSIVE JOURNEY OF SOUND, STORY, AND SPIRIT

Photo Credit: Chris Rugowski

Evergrey - Falling From The Sun

Nothing More’s Mark Vollelunga Talks New Album ‘Carnal’ and Band’s Evolution

earMUSIC Concludes Epic SAVATAGE Vinyl Reissue Campaign with Japan Live ‘94 Release

Dark Tranquillity Unveil New Single “Not Nothing” and Launch Pre-Orders for Upcoming Album Endtime Signals

Onlap – Waves Review

RELATED BY

G-TQ58R0YWZE