Review: Raglans – Long LiveTweet
Raglans first came to this reviewer’s attention at this year’s brilliant Vantastival festival back in May. Maybe they pulled a short straw along the way but they were given a somewhat unappealing Sunday morning slot. Despite this, they played with enough conviction that they won the tent over. Their energetic set was filled with the catchiest songs of the weekend and ones that had you singing along despite never hearing the song before.
That was live, but how do they fair on their ‘Long Live’ EP? Very well thankfully. What they’ve done is released a confident collection of tracks that reference their influences but never becomes a shameless take on someone else’s sound. For a five track EP, there’s quite a lot of scope but enough of their own stamp on each song that it doesn’t feel forced. These lads clearly know a thing or two about catchy songwriting and with their catchy choruses it’s only a matter of time before we start hearing a lot more of Raglans on the radio.
Standout track Digging Holes sounds like U2 if you gave them a mandolin, a crate of Red Bull and told them to lighten up a bit. Rumbling drums, a powered-up mandolin and one of the catchiest choruses of the year. Little surprise the video is just off 25,000 YouTube views (it also helps that the video is as bizarre as it is slick). The song is up there in the limited category of ‘singles containing a lead mandolin’; actually on second thought the only other entry to the category would be ‘Losing My Religion’.
‘Sand in my Pocket‘ shows another side to Raglans and one that you don’t hear too often in 2012. It’s a doo-wop ode to ‘A Hard Day’s Night-era Beatles without ever imposing too much on their Liverpool reference point. Save Your Words For The Widdow and The Man From Glasgow are further examples of Raglans ability to produce energetic, pounding tracks with sing along lyrics. Instantly hooking you in and in a live setting, ensuring that foot tapping becomes full on dancing.
Closing track Roll Away is the perfect comedown after the excitable energy of the preceding tracks. It’s a slow burning, dusty walk to the horizon as the sun goes down and the screen fades to black. It gives the EP the closing track it deserves. If Digging Holes was the party then Roll Away is certainly the morning after. It brings Long Live to a reflective close.