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Jack White-annointed synth-rocker raises his game on long-awaited sequel
Ed Power, 14 Jul 2008
Richie “Jape” Egan could fairly be described as a one hit wonder, were it not for the fact he hasn’t actually had a hit. ‘Floating’, the dreamy puff-pie of a single he put out all the way back in 2004, may have been championed by artists as far flung as Jack White and Adam Freeland (who first introduced it to the world beyond Whelan’s via his FabricLive compilation). But it never actually troubled the charts – leaving Egan in the unfortunate predicament of having his career overshadowed by a song without actually benefitting materially from the achievement!
Evidently Egan has decided the only way to move on is to write an entire album of tracks that sound like ‘Floating’, only better. From the first treated twang of ‘Christopher And Anthony’, we’re on instantly familiar ground. Hazy melodies flutter and ebb; drums whirr and soar; Egan sings like an altar boy who has just smoked his first packet of cigarettes in one sitting and is about to spew his dulcet lungs up.
What’s changed is the breadth of Egan’s ambition. He’s no longer happy to simply wax quirky. Throughout Ritual, zaniness stays on a tight leash. ‘Replays’ surfs a sweet, fluttering guitar hook; ‘Graveyard’ is torn between the Beach Boys and Aphex Twin; the could-have been mawkish ‘Phil Lynott’ finds Egan getting misty-eyed for the Thin Lizzy frontman on a boozy night-out, but still having the wherewithal to pen a winning hook. Someone get Jack White the phone – Egan’s scored another bull’s-eye.
Key Track: ‘Christopher and Anthony’