Over the past number of years Dublin band The Rags have released a string of brilliant (if underrated) singles and played scores of impressive live shows, but the long-awaited album appeared to elude them until now and A National Light has certainly been worth the wait.
It’s refreshing to discover a band dealing with the everyday complexities of Irish life and the many issues, social and political which are often left to the preserve of the folk fraternity. Their style and sensibilities has much in common with those of The Libertines and The Smiths, having the ability to comment substantially on social issues while wrapping it up with beautiful poetic lyrics, catchy hooks and cracking tunes.
While there are outside influences its rooted deeply in Dublin, through lyrical content and the distinctive raspy vocal delivery, akin to a Dublin Johnny Rotten. It is the marriage of these two strands that hits the spot. Opener ‘Uniforms & Neckties’ is an angry, stinging attack on the modern money and material obsessed rat race and ‘A National Light’, with a little help from James Joyce declares a dream where parliament is ‘sacked’ and a new ownership the city. Whilst the record is quite angry and forceful it’s still very upbeat, steering clear from the pitfalls of angst, winge ridden rock which has destroyed many an Irish band, instead delivering enjoyable and formidable sound.
This might have arrived just in time with a country full of anger and despair they can provide some respite that we are not the only ones. You might not always agree with what they say, but like so many great song writers he is baring his soul to the world for all to see and that kind of truthfulness and honest can’t be knocked.
A National Light is released Friday 28th May and it’s launched in Whelan’s on Saturday 29th May @ 8pm