Ra Ra Riot
Sep 08, 2010 Web Exclusive
There's something definitively '80s about Ra Ra Riot. Upon first listen, it seems as though it may be the singing of Wes Miles, with his airy, ecstatic squeals. Of course, there are the sudden flashes of keyboards to help the mood along. But that's only part of the equation. Further listening reveals how Miles paints the emotions of the songs in the sunny, neon vibes of the Miami Vice era, laying out scenarios that seem happy enough given his airy, ecstatic squeals, until one takes some time to listen to the lyrics.
No matter the era, Ra Ra Riot is an extremely tight pop outfit. Mathieu Santos's basslines dance through and around the tunes, keeping time but perking up the ears as well. He also acquits himself quite well when he sings lead vocals on the sprightly "Massachusetts," one of the album's standouts. Alexandra Lawn's cello works similar magic, though her own vocal turn, on "You and I Know," doesn't fare as well; she sounds like a Stevie Nicks impersonator.
The Orchard has one virulently catchy song, "Too Dramatic." Too much of the album, however, is immediately forgotten, an issue the band didn't encounter on their excellent The Rhumb Line. (www.rarariot.com)
Author rating: 5/10
Average reader rating: 8/10