Always a nice surprise when you see an interesting new band playing in your local. Raggedy Rawney they are called. The brainchild of Dan Ecclestone, who writes all the songs and plays most of the instruments on first album 'It Was All Fields Around Here'. The music is reminiscent of Baby Bird, or The The,or Sufjan Stevens; Talking Heads also come to mind, though that may be in part because the album has some Songs about Buildings.
It is a loose concept album looking at changes in places and people. The catchy opener 'Off We Go' is about driving around suburbs once known, then it gets into more personal territory with 'Replacements', being about both urban renewal and the singers own father. 'Buildings and Houses' is about lost childhood playgrounds, and much more besides. The themes may be poignant but the songs are bouncy and buoyant, deceptively simple but with complex instrumentation, and full of memorable tunes. Dan has a charisma that shines through both live and on record. Highly recommended.
Interview Dan Ecclestone of Raggedy Rawney
So Dan, this seems to be a very personal record. Is it?
Absolutely....It’s all my memories of a building site at the end of the road in South London where i grew up; they’d built the foundations for a house but then downed tools and for years we used it as trenches to play soldiers and chase around in. Then when they returned to build on the site we hatched plans to stage a protest, a sit-in, as it were. Course that didn’t really work! The album starts, many years later, with me driving back to this street to show some friends where i grew up and finishes with a fairly downbeat conclusion that all those plans we had as kids, of building empires and seizing control, were somehow doomed to fail.
So how is it playing such personal songs live for an audience?
The only one that sometimes feels a bit naked is the title track, which ends with me singing a pretty downbeat line unaccompanied... that one has been seen to ruin the vibe if the audience are up on their feet! We dont tend to play 'Indignity' for the same reason....
And you play virtually all the instruments on the album yourself?
Yep, but that sounds more impressive that it really is! It's a load of vintage keyboards like Mellotrons and Vox Continentals that I love from early 70s progressive records. I pieced it all together fairly slowly over about 4 months, multitracking. We're going to start recording the follow up in September and that'll feature the whole band playing live in the studio.
Any live dates coming up?
Fri 23/6 at Hot Numbers, Gwydir St Cambridge (Album Launch)
16 July The Flying Pig , Cambridge
19 Aug Knackfest, Downham Market
23 Sept Relevant Records Cafe, Cambridge