Chuck Ragan - The Flame in the Flood (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Chuck Ragan

The Flame in the Flood (2016)

Ten Four Records

The Flame in the Flood marks Chuck Ragan’s first venture into video game soundtrack territory. Might sound like an odd choice really, folky acoustic punk, the game apparently allows the player to “scrounge for resources, craft tools, remedy afflictions, evade the vicious wildlife, and most importantly, stay ahead of the coming rains.” Yep, sounds like Chuck Ragan.

The record kicks off with the title track which sets the precedent of what’s to come. Backed by his full band, The Camaraderie, the track is typical of Ragan - building verses, big chorus, minimal instrumentation. Really though, it sounds a bit darker than his past work.

That darkness moves to sadness on “Gathering Wood” which is one of the standout tracks, highlighting Ragan’s incredibly strong vocals and the endearing guitar-work. After this though, we get the first instrumental, “In the Eddy”. It’s relatively strong, yet feels too long and repetitive at almost five minutes.

Other tracks which work really well are “River and Dale” which is slightly more upbeat and sounds like it could fit in on Covering Ground. Closer “What We Leave Behind” is quiet and sad, but has some really, really nice harmonies which make the track.

The rest of the record is good, too, it’s just nothing spectacular. It doesn’t meet the heights hit by its predecessors. But it is after all, a video game soundtrack, and it serves that purpose particularly well. There’s no huge hits, no new “For Broken Ears”, but it makes for a nice background listen - essentially what it was written for.