Call for Book Reviewers and Bloggers

Music
cover art

Ra Ra Riot

Ra Ra Riot EP

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

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


“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.

Rating:

Dan Raper has been writing about music for PopMatters since 2005. Prior to that he did the same thing for his college newspaper and for his school newspaper before that. Of course he also writes fiction, though his only published work is entitled "Gamma-secretase exists on the plasma membrane as an intact complex that accepts substrates and effects intramembrane cleavage". He is currently studying medicine at the University of Sydney, Australia.


Tagged as: ra ra riot
Media
Ra Ra Riot - Each Year at Our Graves
Related Articles
30 Jan 2013
PopMatters chats with Wes Miles of Ra Ra Riot about their new album Beta Love before their headlining gig in New York.
24 Jan 2011
Recording their album in a peach field, unleashing secret Genesis influences, and more: speaking to PopMatters, Ra Ra Riot's Alexandra Lawn spills all about the recording of the group's acclaimed new album The Orchard ...
7 Nov 2010
Ra Ra Riot offers an originality that I haven’t heard in a long while; a kind of originality that makes the listener appreciate music on a new level.
22 Aug 2010
Even more so than their debut,The Rhumb Line, Ra Ra Riot's The Orchard feels like a labor of love.
Comments
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements
Win a 15-CD Pack of Brazilian Music CDs from Six Degrees Records! in PopMatters Contests on LockerDome

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.