Raglans – Again and Again

Again and Again is a 5-track EP recorded live in LA by producers: Jason Wade and Chris Murgia of the band Lifehouse. The tracks selected for this EP will also be featured on their upcoming album set to release in early 2017. The Irish outfit from Dublin released their self titled debut album 2 years ago and we have been more than patient waiting for their follow up. Again and Again retains the relevance and elements of crowd participation that their previous record projected whilst simultaneously having improved in maturity and production quality.

The EP begins with the excessively catchy “Who Knows” which I had downloaded immediately when it was released as a single months ago. The quick pacing of lead singer Stephen Kelly’s lyrical line paired with the interesting dynamic of drawn out guitar chords create this dramatic opposition that entices the listener. The song is about potential and possibilities, heading into the unknown future with an open mind as ready as can be to expect the unexpected be it death, love, money… who knows?

Next we glide through to the anecdotal “True North” with its kaleidoscopic guitar intro that is implemented in delightful bursts throughout the tune. As if a descent into a dream the experience this song permits is luminous depicting the woman in the narrative as a beacon Kelly sings, “was it my old man’s warning? Don’t settle down. That makes her light up like there’s propane on her, got a whiff and you know she’ll follow. Wouldn’t it be wonderful? Eyes shut and her hands out. True north, never been south.” I envision a woman too bright to look at raised on a pedestal guiding the way for lonely hearts.

“House Where I Was Born” can be subjectively described as an anxiety ridden track riddled with teen angst and a smattering of troubled childhood. “So wait for me, so come for, so torture me,” Kelly proclaims implying this reflective account is mostly a mental one. However, revisiting these troubled times inadvertently creates the channel for a terrific song. It’s loud, it’s a tad grungy and it’s angry encouraging a cathartic release in whatever way the listener sees fit.

In a subtle shift the soothing, slightly raspy inflection of Kelly’s voice slows everything right down accompanied only by an acoustic guitar he talks about the fear of becoming mundane and predictable. Shortly after the rest of the band joins him in the crowd friendly “La la la la’s” that will have your head banging. In the middle of the track there’s what can only be described as an epic guitar solo from Brendan McGlynn and a musical breakdown that shows off just how talented this band is before a dramatic three part harmony builds up to the final chorus. The song is introduced and ends with the soft and minimalist approach of Kelly and his guitar transitioning us smoothly in and out of the experience.

In conjunction with the last track “Claire” features Stephen Kelly and his guitar once more as he provides us with an honest, heart on your sleeve love song that we can only imagine is for a girl named Claire. I find the sadness in his voice leaking into my ears leaving me feeling immersed in this relationship I know nothing about as he sings, “I might be talking to myself, maybe madness, maybe health, these naked wounds that I must wear; Claire.” The first 2:30 of the song my heart breaks for this man I don’t know before an explosive deliverance of musical passion crashes through and carries on to end the track on a note of resurgence.

This EP is prodigious and future looks bright for these Irish indie rockers. Catch them on their European tour this fall!