Album Review: Rich Ragany – “Like We’ll Never Make It”
Rich Ragany always seems to be one of those guys capable of surprising you musically. Before the release of the Role Models’ debut album, 2015’s “The Go-To Guy”, the group were generally seen as a mid-table act, a perpetual support band who you usually watched while waiting for someone better known to come onstage. However, the release of that album well and truly blew those assumptions out of the water as they lived up to their claim of putting out an album that was one part Johnny Thunders, one part Tom Petty and one part Paul Westerberg. The momentum continued to build on subsequent albums “Forest Lawn” and “Dance Moves”, and 2018 now sees Rags releasing his first solo album with a supporting cast including Andy Brook (Shush guitarist and producer of several awesome bands), ex-Glitterati/Dedwardians guitarist Gaff, bassist Ricky McGuire (The Men They Couldn’t Hang/ex-UK Subs) and his Role Models bandmate Simon Maxwell on drums.
If the Role Models’ albums generally sound like a cross between the ecstatic high of the Saturday night out and the hungover comedown of Sunday morning, then “Like We’ll Never Make It” is a more mellow affair, maybe the Sunday afternoon after the gremlins in your head have finally stopped pounding it with a mallet and you’re just about ready to make your way to the sofa to watch TV, or go for a quick walk in the park before the sun sets. And it’s genuinely enjoyable stuff – a nice laid-back set of tunes with earworms a plenty.
Like the Role Models’ debut, this is definitely a bit of a surprise package of an album as the influences here definitely aren’t quite what you’re expecting. The jangly guitars of “That World” and “Your Distance” are actually oddly reminiscent of The La’s while the title track has an almost Elvis Costello new wave air about it, and “Lose With Me” could almost be the Dogs D’Amour in one of their more reflective moments. Elsewhere, “Scotty Thompson” and “Story Highway” have a nice bluesy tinge to them while “Heart’s Souvenir” sees Rags’ often-visited Tom Petty influence rising to the fore again.
Best of all though is the closing one-two of the end-of-the-day reflection of “Later Than It Is” and the uplifting acoustic led closer “Easy”. Again, Rags has done himself proud here, and “Like We’ll Never Make It” definitely comes highly recommended.
It's easy to dismiss solo albums from members of bands who are still active as being vanity projects, but "Like We'll Never Make It" sees Rags unleashing some new areas of his songwriting that he's not yet had the chance to explore with the Role Models, and carrying it off in style. A perfect album for lazy afternoon listening, this is definitely well worth investigating and should be near the top of your shopping list for this month.