Here’s a reprint of my review of the ace new Raglans LP that ran in Hot Press a couple of issues ago.
Raglans (Independent Records LTD)
Key Track: ‘Natives’
DUBLINERS’ HAVE LOTS OF ACES UP THEIR SLEEVES.
Hailed by both Irish and UK press as being a band on the cusp of very big things indeed, Dublin four-piece Raglans have a lot riding on their self-titled debut record. In fact, there has been an almost tangible weight of expectation resting on their shoulders, with many eager to see if they can take things to the next level. Hearteningly, Raglans does all that and more and the 11 track record is an affirmation that their last few years of blood, sweat and tears haven’t been in vain.
Very much a party record and an ode to youth, ambition and cheap cider, the band, who named themselves after the Patrick Kavanagh poem ‘On Raglan Road,’ rarely waste a note on the record. Musically informed by the likes of General Fiasco, Two Door Cinema Club and Jake Bugg (when he’s not being sulky), the opus is a stellar, starry-eyed effort which has world-beater written all over it. Packed with hooks (‘White Lightning’) surprises (the guitar-work on ‘DOWN’ is a little Cure-like) and an infectious feeling of optimism (“This could be the start of something new” offers Stephen Kelly on the incendiary ‘Digging Holes’), Raglans is one of the strongest, most self-assured debuts I’ve heard in years and if you’re not singing along with the sublime gang vocals on ‘Fake Blood’ and ‘Natives’ within seconds of hearing it, you really shouldn’t be reading this magazine.