Matt Walker has been a stalwart of the roots music scene for more than two decades now and with Lost Ragas he may have found his perfect musical marriage. The quartet truly embody the phrase ‘cosmic country’, serving up a sound that mixes classic country, power pop and rock n roll. It’s like Sturgill Simpson and Beck jamming with the ghost of Harry Nilsson (‘From The Turnip Patch To The Window Sill’) as they effortlessly meld clever songwriting with exceptional playing that conveys just the right feel and mood for the songs.
Single ‘Marijuana Mornings’ is a stroke of lyrical genius amid Shane Reilly’s melancholic pedal steel, ‘Song For Dale’ is a soaring tribute to an Aussie stunt motorcycle hero complete with a wonderfully ragged and distorted guitar solo from Walker. There’s a real sense of space in the song arrangements that creates a dreamy quality to many of the songs. As a result ‘Murderous And Insane’ takes on a new-age shimmer and sparkle while Colours In The Sky heads out into the night on a light psychedelic breeze.
It’s not all tripped-out gloom though. ‘Seven Days’ has a 1950s pop quality like a young Roy Orbison or Buddy Holly while ‘Those Wild Blue Eyes’ dances around a playful melody with a light and ineffably catchy touch. That ability to hammer out a brisk honky tonk rhythm one minute and then craft a late night whisky-sodden ballad of heartache highlights the band’s magic. Combined with the way they apply tonality to their songs, both vocally and instrumentally, Lost Ragas have created an album of timeless quality, full of dark and graceful beauty.
File alongside The Delines, Lucinda Williams, Jo Meares and James Thomson.