There’s a lot of hype surrounding the Raglans at the moment with members of the press touting the indie rock piece as this year’s next big thing. The public seems to agree too; the band is set to embark on their biggest Irish tour to date and tickets are selling fast. With hype comes expectation though, and the level preceding their self-titled debut album is sky high. Thankfully, it doesn’t disappoint.
The first point of reference for this album is that this is familiar ground. There’s nothing on here that hasn’t been done already. This is the same no frills indie rock that we’ve heard a thousand times before. What separates it and elevates it above your average meat ‘n’ potato indie offering is that the Raglans are exceptionally good at what they do. Any of the eleven songs included could potentially be a single with the album chock-a-block with huge hooks and choruses. Natives and (Lady) Roll Back The Years are the pick of the bunch, two utterly irresistible slices of pop-rock that most bands can only dream of writing.
It’s not just the melodies that make this album appealing, it also carries an energy and wide-eyed charm that makes it impossible not to like. Fake Blood and The Man from Glasgow both brim with punk-rock spikiness. Down and Born in Storms are equally lively. The latter in particular deserves praise; a mandolin-driven number complete with huge gang choruses. The rest of the album plays out pretty much the same as the above. Yes, at times it feels generic and it does get a bit repetitive but its faults are easy to ignore when the music is so fun and infectious.
It’s unlikely this album will change the world but it should make stars of the Raglans. With its mix of youthful exuberance, vigour and passion it should at the very least provide the soundtrack of this summer for more than a few Irish revellers. Expect to hear a lot more from these lads over the next twelve months, they are the real deal.