New Releases Reviews

Album Review: Rich Ragany and the Digressions ‘What We Do (To Not Let Go)’ – Emotive, Heartfelt Rock

The third album from this diversely-influenced band takes us on an adroit journey through the emotional ups and downs of life, love and loneliness, with vocal and musical harmonies and edgy guitars - a must listen for 2023!

Frontman Rich Ragany (the Calgary, Canada-born and now UK-based former Role Models leader) has spent the last few years building up quite a reputation with his band of rock n’ roll trailblazers, The Digressions. Personnel include: Gaff on lead guitar (Glitterati, Dedwardians, Desperate Measures,) Kit Swing on guitar/vocals (Mallory Knox, Seven Days And Doesn’t Die), Ricky McGuire on bass (UK SUBS, The Men They Couldn’t Hang), and Simon Maxwell on drums (Role Models, Yo Yos) with celebrated producer Andy Brook on additional keyboards/vocals/guitar (SHUSH). The band’s 2021 critically-acclaimed album ‘Beyond Nostalgia & Heartache’ gained considerable airplay on BBC Introducing and rave reviews.

Brand new album ‘What We Do (To Not Let Go)’ is out on 3rd March 2023, on their recently signed-to label Barrel And Squidger (who have released music by CJ Wildheart, Massive Wagons, members of Status Quo and Sex Pistols). This album is crammed full of soaring melodies and the kind of rock n’ roll that can take on many different moods, sounds and styles, as the band went for a different approach to its predecessor.

“As ‘Nostalgia..‘ had that wide-screen depth and cinematic feel,” explains Rich. “I decided to lay down a new approach. Gone were layering guitars and keys, in with punchy one takes… everyone getting one shot… everybody gets one job (Gaff is lead guitar, Kit rhythm, for example, no layers… just the parts), solos are solid takes and not pieced together. This, to me, would ensure that everyone’s personality would shine right through while making the songs far more immediate and vital. If it’s one thing I’ve learned while being incredibly lucky to work with the Digressions, it’s that they have a ton of personality. What you get is a muscular yet melodic, anthemic rock n roll album. A new way of telling our story. One I can say I am so proud to be part of.”

Rich Ragany and the Digressions
Rich Ragany and The Digressions - photo by Barrel and Squidger Records

The title track and opener ‘What We Do (To Not Let Go)’ thunders into a vibrant and powerful listen, setting the tone for an album about loss and hope. The lighter sound of ‘You’re My Way Back Home’ is sweeter, followed by the punchier ‘How Much Of Me Is You’ – a song about heading ‘straight to the wrong one‘ – with edgy guitars punctuating the forthright lyrics.

The slower ballad ‘One More For The Train’ drifts into country rock territory, a beautiful song with the drumming just keeping it on the rockier side!

Til I’m On My Feet Again’ is a rousing song about friendship, while ‘The End Of All Things’ is a haunting, more acoustic number. ‘Highgate Sun’ is questioning and folky, with beautiful vocal harmonies from Kit.

The album’s first single ‘One Last Thing To Prove’ was released three weeks ago: “One night out in Camden, I ran into an old friend, Pete,” explains Rich on the origins of the song. “We go way back to Canada. He’s a sound tech for some pretty amazing acts. Anyways, I see him, and his arm is in a sling. I ask him what he’s doing after. He says he can’t be out late as he leaves in the morning to hit the road. “With a broken arm, man??” He replied, “We all got one last thing to prove…”

‘Pretty Breeze’ is my favourite track on the album, a powerful anthemic song with driving bass and guitars. ‘Shade Of Shameless’ returns to ballad country, but it’s a huge song with clever lyrics and composition – Deacon Blue with bigger balls! ‘Forever Ghosts’ sees Gaff cut loose with some super guitar riffs accompanied by Simon’s drums ticking along like a clock, while ‘Gravity’ challenges us to defy all that’s holding us back. ‘Waiting’ is a bluesy power ballad showcasing all of the band’s talents, before the shorter ‘Outro’ bids us a gentle goodbye, sandwiched by birdsong and street sounds.

Catch the band on tour in the UK this Spring - and look out for further dates to be announced!

An emotive album filled with intelligent, heartfelt songs, Rich and the band have come up with a dexterous collection of multifaceted music, underpinned with robust lyrics. His new approach in making this album has paid off – it’s a beauty!

“What We Do (To Not Let Go)”is released via Barrel And Squidger Records on 03/03/2023 – Get your copy HERE

What We Do album cover
  1. What We Do (To Not Let Go)
  2. You’re My Way Back Home
  3. How Much Of Me Is You
  4. One More For the Train
  5. Til I’m On My Feet Again
  6. The End Of All Things
  7. Highgate Sun
  8. One Last Thing To Prove
  9. Pretty Breeze
  10. Shade Of Shameless
  11. Forever Ghosts
  12. Gravity
  13. Waiting
  14. Outro
Follow Rich Ragany and the Digressions on Their Socials
Need more Punk In Your Life?