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Friday, September 05, 2008

Music Reviews

Ra Ra Riot
***1/2
The name's a bit misleading. While the Syracuse,NY band is the "it" indie band right now after SXSW they're not a "ra ra" ironically band or a "riot" poppy not-punk punk band. Rather, think of the name as a stutter, of a word delayed in speech that packs a punch when fully formed.
Vampire Weekend might be the point of reference here on the surface, or at least to get you in the ballpark, but I don't get or really care for them, so let's not go there. But its fitting Riot's from Syracuse, because while they sort of have the Williamsburg (Brooklyn) sound (think The National) they're also quite distanced from it, and almost close to the Montreal Indie scene sound. That they sound like Montreal's great band, and that this album was finished after the death of their drummer and a founding member, it would be easy to compare this to The Arcade Fire's Funeral, also.
While Ra Ra Riot doesn't sound original; they have the pulse of The National, the strings of The Arcade Fire, the delivery of a number of recent NY area bands; sort of too serious to be The Unicorns re-born but not serious enough to be Interpol.
That said this is an album of deeply felt, well-written, and emotionally conveyed songs, which make this album not just stand out as different from the other bands which they may sound like, but rather something special. It's also a surprisingly dense album as I find myself appreciating it more with each listen, though its not too dense to not have songs which you'll find yourself humming, or singing later on.
This is a first album, and it has its share of misfires. At times the band seems to be playing for the sound rather than for the sake of the individual song, and the song Too Too Fast
is just not very good.
This isn't a perfect album, but an interesting one, and a promising debut.



Next: Miles Benjamen Anthony Johnson,Young and Sexy, Mount Eerie and maybe I'll get around to finally reviewing Fleet Foxes...

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