Ragged Hearts, Her Bright White Light

Ragged Hearts, Her Bright White Light

Okay, so this is really weird. I’d heard of Ragged Hearts off and on for the past few years, so I picked up their debut full-length, Her Bright White Light, on a recent CD-buying binge, figuring I’d see what they were like. On the back cover, I see four disaffected folks in black, some w/tattoos and/or spiky hair. On their MySpace page, they cite the Stones, the Faces, the New York Dolls, D Generation, David Bowie, and the Replacements (among others, mind you; those were just the ones that really had me fooled at first). Plus, they’ve apparently got some kind of connection to Sylvain Sylvain and The Applicators, and three of the songs were recorded and produced by people who’ve worked with Dogs D’Amour, the Wildhearts, and, ah, Vixen.

Seeing all that, I figure, “Got it — these guys are probably kinda raw, pretty glam-y rock, maybe with some blues thrown in. Hell, they’ve probably even got fake British accents or Noo Yawk sneers.”

Um. No, not quite. What they are, really, is a country band, and not a bad one, at that. The album starts loud, with “Sure Felt Wild,” a blast of rootsy, punkish rock reminiscent of Social Distortion or the ‘Mats, but the band never really comes back to that level of loud rock during Her Bright White Light. Instead, Ragged Hearts veer off into occasional forays into pure-as-sugar power-pop, like on “The White Lady” (which brings to mind Cheap Trick), “The Absence,” or cool, catchy “The Sense” (which has a more “British”/Kinks-y feel to it) or do what they do most on here: play down-home, soulful country songs with a touch of folk and a teeny hint of a British Invasion-era love of the blues.

Seriously, take a listen to the one-two punch of “Life and Times,” which is slow and deliberate-sounding, and “Bad Man,” where frontman/guitarist Corey Power and drummer Davey Jonez pull some really nice harmonies out of their musical hat, and tell me this ain’t country. There’s also “Leaving Bonnie,” a gently poignant I’d-like-to-but-I-can’t love song, jangly “The Absence,” folky, minimal “Dance On Bailey,” and “Sparkle and Shine,” which even throws in some cool mandolin over a driving Hank Williams beat. All that from a band I had pegged as full on glam-rock.

Now for the important part — labels and preconceptions aside, Her Bright White Light is a fine collection of well-written, well-played songs. “Sure Felt Wild” may be the only real burner on here, but most of the other tracks are knock-you-over good in their own right, particularly “The Sense,” “Dance On Bailey,” “Sparkle and Shine,” and “Life and Times.” (The only track I really don’t like, actually, isn’t even theirs; it’s a cover of “Kings and Queens,” penned back in the ’80s by Dave Kusworth of the Jacobites…) I don’t know how Ragged Hearts’ love for glam and the Faces led ’em to where they are on Her Bright White Light, but I’m glad they got there somehow.

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Review by . Review posted Wednesday, April 4th, 2007. Filed under Reviews.

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One Response to “Ragged Hearts, Her Bright White Light

  1. SPACE CITY ROCK » Yr. Weekend, Pt. 2: Deftones + Mikey & The Drags + The Handshake + SHFL 10-Year Anniversary + Ragged Hearts + More on April 10th, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    […] haven’t heard anything new from the band since 2007’s Her Bright White Light, so I was psyched to learn that they’ll finally be recording their second album this summer. […]

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