The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
RAGDOLL - RAGDOLL REWOUND REVIEW 2014

 

RAGDOLL - RAGDOLL REWOUND

BEAUTIFUL DISASTER RECORDS

OUT NOW - MAY 2014

 

 

Ragdoll are no stranger to The Rockpit, after turning heads with their debut “Ragdoll Rock” and explosive follow ups “Here Today” and “All I Want”, and they return with their fourth release in a little under three years with the compilation disc “Ragdoll Rewound”.

 

After three EP’s it’s standard fare for most bands to release a full length album, and these are often just a collection of the best cuts from the band’s catalogue. “Ragdoll Rewound” aims to satisfy their fans desires for a longer playing disc but comes at it from a rather unique perspective; we have the band’s first two EP’s here, with a full remix and rerecording of the “Ragdoll Rock” EP, fully remastered and with 4 live tracks. Of special interest is the new song on here, recorded live , “Rewind Your Mind”.

 

Back in 2012 when I first reviewed the “Here Today” EP, I said

“every song here is a winner. And while you may hear that a lot of the time I’ll stick my neck out and say that these guys are the real deal.”

 

In that time Ragdoll have completed three US tours and gigged tirelessly through Western Australia to stellar reviews, and the band shows no sign of tiring as they expand their reach to rock fans around the globe. I’m happy to say the tracks taken from Here Today do indeed sound bigger and bolder with the slick remastering job by Troy Nababan, whose production and mixing really gets a chance to shine. My favourite track Tell Me still oozes pure sex appeal and swagger while Heaven Above and Could It Be Love in particular breathe a little more when cranked up; almost as if they’ve been left to age like a fine wine!

 

The real boon with Ragdoll Rewound is a chance for fans of the band’s later work to get a chance to hear the Ragdoll Rock EP, and I was considerably curious to hear the remixes. Straight off the bat Foot to the Floor screams out of the speakers, the rerecorded guitar parts sounding tighter and more in line with the sound of the Here Today tracks. The drum and vocal sound in particular have been stepped up a notch, far more organic and punchy than the overcompressed original mixes. It’s great to hear the fresh new parts the band have sprinkled throughout this track, and it’s made a good song even better.

 

The Feeling is the big surprise here. I’m a huge fan of the original recording, particularly the Ronnie James Dio meets Lou Gramm vocal histrionics of Ryan Rafferty towards the songs climax. The remix is even more impressive; the wall of guitars at the beginning, the Pink Floyd cranked to 11 ambient sections and the massive chorus. Ragdoll really stretch out on this track and show they’re not afraid to spruik their arena rock roots.

 

Rounding out the Ragdoll Rock remixes are Ashamed, a sort of neo prog anti ballad that has been brought into the modern age by the clever production and mixing skills of Nababan. It brings to mind Queensryche and early Dream Theater at times, yet clocks in at the 4 minute mark. Finally the power ballad In My Mind benefits hugely from the addition of acoustic guitar and some U2 inspired guitar overdubs and sits comfortably against the more mature Could It Be Love, and again the remixed drum sound is a huge improvement and, to my ears, a much needed one.

 

The four live tracks showcase a different side of the band again, and are a great representation of the energy and enthusiasm Ragdoll takes to every live performance. While the band sounds slick and modern on record, the live recordings are raw, rough and capture the essence of rock and roll. Essentially an official bootleg, the band has chosen the four most energetic songs to include. All I Want and Tell Me bring to mind vintage Winger and Badlands, while Foot to the Floor is faster and more intense.

 

The new track, Rewind Your Mind, is the standout of the live recordings. All I can say is I love the direction the band has taken with this one and I look forward to hearing it on record!

 

Ragdoll Rewound distills the best of Ragdoll’s past efforts and charts a clear way forward for the band. I say it every time I get a new disc across my desk, but I foresee huge things for these guys in the future and this new release only reinforces that. Essential listening!

 

 

by Leslii Phillips

 

RAGDOLL - RAGDOLL REWOUND REVIEW 2014