|Ra Ra Riot – The Orchard|
Ra Ra Riot put out a pretty enjoyable little debut with The Rhumb Line a few years back. They kind of came off to most people as more string-y version of Vampire Weekend, which was certainly a valid comparison considering these guys are friends with Vampire Weekend. But unlike VW, Ra Ra Riot don’t quite find themselves shaking that sophomore slump that so many indie-pop bands seem to find themselves in these days.
From the first track you get the idea that this album is a little more subdued and solemn, with less of the driving melodies that made Ra Ra Riot’s debut a blast. And for the most part these songs are just not that interesting, they’re not bad, they just end up feeling kind of bland. So it’s not that surprising when the album’s best moments comes from songs like “Boy” or “Too Dramatic” that are more upbeat and feature singer Wes Miles more playful vocal performances. And the thing I liked about the heavy use of strings on The Rhumb Line was the way they juxtaposed against the franticness of the band’s rhythm section, be here you don’t really get a whole lot of that. However, the strings still give the band a slightly more interesting sound than your average indie-pop outfit.
For the most part though, even the poppier material just isn’t as catchy as the stuff on Ra Ra Riot’s debut, and for a band like this to work I feel like the songs have to have that pop-oriented quality. But really it’s not like I was expecting anything exceptional out of these guys, in fact this is more or less what I kind of expected out of a second album from Ra Ra Riot.
Favorite Tracks: “Boy”, “Massachusetts”, “Kansai”
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