Ra Ra Riot

Ra Ra Riot EP

by Dan Raper

23 July 2007

 

Even avoiding the easy news story, Ra Ra Riot’s still a band to be interested in. The band, hailing from upstate New York, plays an exuberant brand of indie pop informed by the dance-rock of recent years but more chamber music in orientation. Most prominently, you can hear a cello providing bass arpeggios or a different timbre of chug, and it’s a welcome addition to an otherwise familiar sound. On the extended second sections of their songs, the repeated groove can recall obvious heroes the Rapture (check the cowbells on “Everest”); but we forgive the band its influences because of the ever-upbeat attitude and a reputation for splintering live shows.

Ra Ra Riot - Dying is Fine

cover art

Ra Ra Riot

Ra Ra Riot EP

(Rebel Group)
US: 10 Jul 2007
UK: Available as import

“Dying Is Fine” is perhaps the best song on the EP. The accompaniment of low-pitched strings is particularly exciting—you don’t hear that enough in pop music—but it’s the stomping chorus really hits home. You’ll be chanting “I wouldn’t like death if death were good”, a line that’s perhaps taken on a different meaning for the band now. As it evolves, the six-minute song transforms into a jittery, instrumental groove spinning seemingly to infinity. It’s really effective. Almost as good is the final track, “Ghost Under Rocks”. Over pizzicato strings and low, fast arpeggios, the layered vocal harmonies create an effectively eerie atmosphere, and the chorus again proves more than solid.

There are moments of imperfection—singer Wesley Miles’ voice falters occasionally when straining for high notes—but overall this EP makes a strong case for us to look forward with excitement to a debut full-length. Death can have a paralysing or a galvanic effect on those affected by it: we know the latter’s possible from Arcade Fire’s Funeral. We can only hope that Ra Ra Riot can channel the tragedy of John Pike’s death into a creative catharsis: on the basis of the Ra Ra Riot EP, we can be confident the start’s more than solid.

Ra Ra Riot EP

Rating:

Topics: ra ra riot
 

We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong online. Please consider a donation to support our work as an independent publisher devoted to the arts and humanities. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where advertising no longer covers our costs. We need your help to keep PopMatters publishing. Thank you.

 


//comments
//related
//Mixed media
//Blogs

20 Questions: Nashville Singer-Songwriter Natalie Hemby

// Sound Affects

"Natalie Hemby's Puxico is a standout debut from a songwriter who has been behind the scenes for over a decade.

READ the article