Rich Ragany – You Can Get Dark With Me

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Rich Ragany

Rich Ragany

You Can Get Dark With Me - Barrel & Squidger Records

Rich “Rags” Ragany is a machine, not in an evil of ruthless sense, and unless there’s a free bar he’s unlikely to run amok! He just seems to relentlessly record and release new music, to underline this he is all set to put out his seventh studio album in nine years next week. He has previously released three with The Role Models (2015’s The Go To Guy, 2016’s Forest Lawn and 2017’s Dance Moves), a solo album (2018’s Like We’ll Never Make It), and two with The Digressions (2021’s s Nostalgia & Heartache and 2023’s What We Do (To Not Let Go)), and now he is set to release his second solo album, You Can Get Dark With Me, on June 14th via Barrel & Squidger Records.

Rich Ragany

Despite the volume of releases he is never predictable, with his various outfits he has spanned the genres from punk and rock to heartfelt ballads and power pop, and pretty much everything in-between. Over the years Rags has also worked with musicians from multiple notable outfits including SHUSH, Glitterati, Dedwardians, Desperate Measures, UK Subs, The Men They Couldn’t Hang, Yo Yos, Mallory Knox, Seven Days And Doesn’t Die, Duncan Reid & The Big Heads, The Middlenight Men & Terrorvision. You Can Get Dark With Me is no exception, as it sees Rags reuniting with a few of his former conspirators along with The Bronx’s Ken Mochikoshi-Horne.

So we’ve established his work ethic and connections, so what’s on the cards on his latest release? Well firstly this is an album that has been recorded not just in the studio, but in most of the rooms in his house, something that gives the recordings a unique feel. The huge open sound of the album is like a big drunken hug, the album just eases it’s way into your brainwaves, yes it’s got a rough edge, but that only adds to it’s charm. Musically we kick of with The Lords Of The New Church tinged opening duo of Empty & Free & A Pleasant Fiction which both have a warm wall of sound feel that straddles the barriers between punk and rock.

Rich Ragany

As you’d expect there are soulful moments such as the country tinged title track and the piano led Reach Out, whilst the classic easy going rock influenced tracks, Sierra Bonita & Tragic Celebration, bring a sense of familiarity, if these had been recorded in another time and place they could have easily graced the soundtrack to any classic 80’s brat pack movie. Then there’s the oddly uplifting The Great Nothing with its huge chords and yearning vocals, this sits alongside the subtle tones and structures of Shine Around Me. Of course his rock roots are present, We’re Alive Anyway is a classic heartfelt rocker whilst Worth dips back into his old friend, power pop.

Rich Ragany

The recording and production on the album is flawless, it suits the material perfectly, this is partially down to reuniting with long term studio collaborator Andy Brook, and quite possibly the acoustics in Rags bathroom! However it came together, this album feels like you’re hearing the band live at an intimate gig. You Can Get Dark With Me feels like the heart and soul of Rich Ragany has been bared, he has embraced the roots of his influences with ten soul stirring songs that are delivered in a deceptively simple style. This is an album best enjoyed at twilight on a warm night with a large bourbon to see out a perfect day, you can take my word for this as that’s exactly how this review was written.