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(Timber Carnival; US: 10 May 2011; UK: Not Available; Online Release Date: 7 Apr 2011)


On its debut full-length self-titled album, Portland, Oregon’s Ravishers deliver a real winner. If you mixed the disaffected nature of the Strokes with the jaunty, indie power-pop of Spoon, Ravishers would be the love child spawned from such a union. In fact, you could go further with the Spoon comparisons, as parts of this album sound like the punchy, quick songcraft of A Series of Sneaks combined with the clipped, fractured pop songs of Transference. What’s more, singer Dominic Castillo sounds like Britt Daniel at times. That might make it seem like Ravishers is a copycat, and that might be so, however, what Ravishers have to offer is swagger and pop hooks that nail you upside the face and leave you absolutely gobsmacked. This is a band that is confident in its prowess, breathlessly leaping from one song to the next, particularly in the front half of the record.

Lead single “Underachievers” even opens with someone coughing and speaking right before the song begins, “This is going to be it. This is going to be the ta – “, and then ka-bam! The song explodes and bursts open right there, leaving the sentence unfinished. There’s a kind of momentum that Ravishers builds with moments like that, and, as a whole, the album doesn’t give up from that point. While the back half of the album is a little bit more normal and structured, rather than being spiky and angular like the run of the first six songs or so, thus making it a little bit more unassuming, this is still a nifty album. It’s one that I find myself reaching for more often than not lately. Maybe it’s because I like Spoon, and maybe Ravishers is just a quick fix to tide me over until the next proper album from a certain Austin, Texas-based band. That said, Ravishers is an exhilarating listen, one that will leave listeners who are into this kind of thing completely and utterly, well, ravished. If you like your pop to have plucked piano lines and jittery guitars that will have you jumping up and down, do yourself a favor and check Ravishers out.


Zachary Houle is a writer living in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He has been a Pushcart Prize nominee for his short fiction, and the recipient of a writing arts grant from the City of Ottawa. He has had journalism published in SPIN magazine, The National Post (Canada), Canadian Business, and more. He also reviews books for

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