The Rags Artwork

I worked closely with Irish band The Rags throughout the six years they spent together between 2004-2010. Perhaps too closely… they asked me to be their manager early on and for a while I was, but I find it difficult to manage my own life at the best of times so it wasn’t a sensible long-term arrangement for either party. A friendship and a strong collabarative relationship endured however and I was involved in one way or another with the visual side of their output (videos, artwork, website, photos etc) throughout their short, eventful lifespan.

Perhaps my close association leaves me biased but I often feel the band’s excellent music was harshly overlooked. Those who got beyond the band’s rather uninviting name and often gruff, insular disposition discovered an act with far broader lyrical and musical scope than is the norm for indie guitar acts. In A National Light, The Rags left behind a dark, powerful, rewarding record of real substance. Without record label investment, the album was released without the financial muscle neccessary to sustain a campaign, so despite strong reviews it flew below most people’s radar. But if future generations wish to seek an account of what it was to feel vulnerable, vitriolic and patriotic in their capital city in the decade just past – A National Light is the record they ought to investigate. Twelve songs, each one with a story to tell.

And storytelling became the theme of the band’s artwork. Lyrical expressiveness was The Rags foremost strength so referencing literature became a recurring thread, hence the Penguin Classic-inspired sleeves above. I worked with photographers Aisling O’Neill and Mark Duggan on Razors & Ropes and Monsters & I singles respectively while A National Light album was the result of a collaboration with Unthink and Steve Neville. Below are some initial mock-up ideas I designed on a variation of the theme which were used for album/single promo CD’s.

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