It’s possible to decipher a lot of the nature of a band before they’ve even taken to the stage or played a note. Taking in the visuals and asking such questions as is the kick drum logo made with black electrical tape? Does the equipment on stage include a guitar amp which looks like a fifth year high school project for woodwork class and also a mandolin? Are there more than a couple of “This is England” looking characters with Ben Sherman shirts and Paul Weller haircuts in attendance? The answer to all three in this case of Dublin’s Raglans is, yes.

Having only seen a few YouTube clips and read a couple of articles online, the first thought during the band’s opener “Roll Back The Years” is admittedly the slightly obscure reference that sonically it’s Sergeant if they were less from Fife and more from Ireland. Similar thoughts of bands from a decade ago and older continue throughout. The coincidentally titled “The Man From Glasgow” also follows in a similar vein but for what the band may lack in rhythmic variation is compensated for by songs which could have easily snuck on to The View’s “Hats Off To The Buskers”.

The mandolin is cracked out for the first track ever written by the band, “Down”; with strong harmonies and arrangements it’s the most memorable of the evening.With shades of The Coral in new track “Monday Morning” it occurs that eight years ago there would have been a real market and this venue would be far fuller, but in today’s scene it unfortunately lacks lyrics about “American Apparel underwear” to really make waves.

The second Glaswegian reference of the evening comes in the shape of the chorus “…that girl was lost to the White Lightning” whether singer, Stephen Kelly is referring to the blue bottled cheap cider or not is unclear, but it doesn’t make as big an impact as it should. For a band with only one LP they definitely deliver plenty in that it’s not a ‘seven songs and up the road’ kind of set. Another highlight of the evening is a cover of “Paper Planes/Straight To Hell”, far from the first time this mash-up has been attempted, but it still comes across really rather well. The only potential complaint being that it is heavier on the MIA side and lesser on The Clash with only one “Go straight to hell, boy” refrain with Liam Morrow taking on lead vocals and truly belting it.

Stephen resumed lead duties for the final two songs showcasing further his Luke from The Kooks like tones. The final track has the “Dancing Shoes” drum intro and swells to an almost Friendly Fires-ish samba eruption which is tight but doesn’t serves essentially as an extended bridge to drop down back to a final chorus. Although, as already mentioned, it is a down period in popularity for the chosen style of Raglans, and they may not have number ones and endorsement deals for lunch boxes and pencil cases but from this evening it would appear they don’t really care.

Debut album, “Raglans” is available now.

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