Rags & Ribbons “The Glass Masses”, 2011
The promo sticker on Rags & Ribbons CD describes the band as “a rock orchestra that is influenced by classical compositions, intricate vocal harmonies, keyboard virtuosos and a desire to be dramatic and deliver a solid rock sound. “The Glass Masses” condenses different genres into a very unique collective voice”. The part about desire is understandable although the use of that particular word suggests a band that aren’t yet able to deliver what they aspire to and are still at the growing stage.
Musically it cannot be denied that Rags & Ribbons are consummate performers although it’s certainty that the band will receive accusations of merely being Muse clones. The allegations are fair enough because often there isn’t much more to them than that. There is evidence, which suggests that there is more going on, like the layered voices in the all-in gospel choir on “The Marks You Make”. Then there’s the dramatic side which comes out strongest in the pompous Queen style rock opera.
While I’m not the biggest fan of rock with the tinkling of keys I found that my favorite part of the album was a keyboard dominant instrumental passage in “Lady in Midnight Sun” although song-wise Rags & Ribbons reach the album’s highpoint in “We Have Been Here Before” with paired back vocals and the dominate keyboard replaced with an 80’s guitar sound reminiscent of early U2.
While there are some great moments on “The Glass Masses:, one Muse is more than enough. Rags and Ribbons have succeeded in their desires but are yet to offer a unique voice. I’m a sucker for the digi-pak design even if the artwork looks like someone recently discovered Photoshop.
Rags & Ribbons on myspace
Rags & Ribbons on bandcamp