R.S.A.G. – Be it Right or Wrong
What do you do to follow-up a much lauded debut? Rest on your laurels or take it up a notch by taking it all up a notch? Jeremy Hickey has done the latter with the follow-up to his excellent Organic Sampler.
The first album was very much a percussion-led record, as the Kilkennyman started out as a drummer before moving on to play a whole range of instruments. However, this time, the drums are not as much to the forefront, and as a result, the songs are much better. Organic Sampler came with a bonus disc, meaning there was a lot to take in on the first release, and similarly there was some songs to throw away. However, the neater, more concise Be It Right Or Wrong contains no duds. Each song is worthy of an appearance.
The Talking Heads impact is turned up on this album, take the album opener and title track, for example, it definitely would not have been out of place on some of David Byrne’s more recent endeavours. Whereas Bell x1 sometimes have a Talking Heads feel to the music, R.S.A.G. has the Byrnian voice to go along with it.
There’s a feeling of various artists from many walks of life on here. The end of the opener has a Songs for the Deaf style riff, and ‘Before They Make You Run’ draws on that master of eccentricity Randy Newman. The instrumentation on this album is much better than the debut, just check out the 90s beats of ‘The Mess We’re In’, and its gorgeous breakdown section.
‘The Roamer’ was selected as the lead single from the album, and rightfully so. It may not have a standout pop-hook, but it is a work of slow-burning wonder. That’s not to say there’s no hooks on this album. There is plenty to draw you in (such as on the gritty ‘Bitter Swing’ and the barroom bounce of ‘Shots Backfire’), but there’s even more to keep you around for more.
It’s a captivating album, that will keep you coming back for more. An improvement on his debut, and a worthy contender for next year’s Choice Music Prize