Rich Ragany & The Digressions “Beyond Nostalgia and Heartache”
We’ve commented before that Rich Ragany is a bit of a music making machine. Clearly, he wasn’t willing to let something like the Corona Virus stop him rocking, so has managed to deliver up yet another album.
The first thing that strikes you on the opening numbers “Sometimes We Can Hear The Voices” and “Beyond Nostalgia and Heartache” is the unbelievable production and sound of the album. We know that Rich gets a lot of support from his rock n roll family, but you’d never guess this is the work of one man pulling it all together. These songs have the warmth and clarity that you’d associate with a major label release. They’re both gorgeous songs that fill you with warmth and hope.
Interestingly those songs, along with tracks like “Fade In Blue” and “Sleep” show a slight, dare we say it, ‘mature’ sound compared to some of the earlier releases. That’s not a criticism! Just a recognition that there is a wider sound which sees the influences of classic songwriters like Springsteen and Costello coming to the forefront.
Don’t worry though, there are also some absolute power pop bangers on here. One of the most notable is “Heartbreakers Don’t Try” which is an absolute corker of a song. If you’re not blasting this one out on your car stereo on a sunny evening drive, then your stereo must be broke!! That’s followed by the Costello esque pop of “It Was Lonely At The Top” – although we must admit the simple addition of some handclaps nearly always makes a song a winner in our eyes! Then “Marionette” is like a long-lost track from some kind of eighties teen movie… an instant classic!
That’s the real beauty of this album, the influences bounce all over the place from the eighties rock/pop of “The Man Who Couldn’t Give It Away” to the sleaze country (that may be a genre we made up.. but think kind of Dogs D’Amour) of “Last Chance Dear” and then back to the pure power pop of “Blackout Til Tuesday”. The one thing that doesn’t change is the quality of every god damn song.
We’ve loved the stuff that Rich Ragany has done in his various outfits before, but this is another level. Anybody who has been missing music during this pandemic needs to go out and buy this album and support a guy who clearly loves his craft. There is no doubt this will be well up there in our list of favourite albums of 2021.