Ra Ra Riot: Superbloom (Rob the Rich/Caroline) | Under the Radar - Music Magazine

Ra Ra Riot

Superbloom

Rob the Rich/Caroline

Sep 06, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Ra Ra Riot is a hybrid of Passion Pit, Vampire Weekend, and The Shins, which is probably a winning formula in 2019. Leaving long-time label, Barsuk, for fifth album Superbloom, Ra Ra Riot can rumble fast or coast slow, sometimes doing both within one song. The former Syracuse University students want to dance around a well-lit stage with endless smiles, but their pop hybrid might be a bit too cheeky.

The Vampire Weekend (the starlets released an album back in May) reference makes obvious sense considering that former Vampire Weekend member, Rostam Batmanglij, is a longtime partner of Ra Ra Riot. Beginning with a muffled pound and some humming ("Flowers"), Superbloom initially sounds too much like Vampire Weekend. But then "Bad to Worse" smacks in a different way, "Endless Pain/Endless Joy" has the big drum construction of a punk tune, and "An Accident" has so much synthesizer wash that it gets borderline epic at the three-minute point.

Full of color—the vinyl is half sky blue, half pink with yellow splash—Superbloom was no imaginative accident. Wes Miles, Mathieu Santos, Milo Bonacci, Kenny Bernard, Rebecca Zeller, Batmanglij, and production duo Kieron Menzies and Dean Reid took assorted elements from the aforementioned Passion Pit, Vampire Weekend, and The Shins, exploding the eclecticism across 47 minutes and 12 tracks. Though Miles has a nice range—his delivery of "it's just my generation of entitlement" on "War & Famine" is a perfect high-register stretch—he's too close to Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig on "Flowers," "Bitter Conversation," and "A Check for Daniel."

We all learn from our peers, especially the popular contemporaries. Beyond our control, we might end up absorbing the peers' craft, letting it bleed into our work. That's what happened to Ra Ra Riot while making Superbloom, which regardless has a fun, soulful shine. (www.rarariot.com)

Author rating: 6.5/10

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