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The Rhumb Line
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The album starts of proper with "Ghosts Under Rocks." This is my personal favorite song of the album from all the "oooohs", the frantic guitar strumming and the melancholy violins. The vocals are enchanting and the drumming is not slighted. "Dying Is Fine" shows everyone Ra Ra Riots obvious post-punk scene influence which is native to their hometown state, New York. A sound similar to The Strokes, albeit much more diverse and subsequently more interesting. On "Oh, La" there are more pounding drums and melancholy violins which take possession of the listeners free will and paralyze any attempt to divert attention from its beauty.
If I've mentioned violins and drums in one song then I've mentioned the essence of all the songs from this album. Every song is latent with violins, guitars, wonderful drums, sometimes with cellos and sometimes with obos. Don't dare let that repetitious proclamation deter you. This album never tires from beginning to end. Every song is a good listen and it's fairly easy to find some songs that stand out greater than others. This album definitely stands out more than others in this wonderful year of indie music.
Ra Ra Riot have had some extreme ups and downs over the past few years, but every experience, good and bad, has given depth to their musicianship and helped to inform the spirit of this incredible debut. It's an impressive collection of songs and I look forward to following them for many years to come.
The first track opens with some of that Wolf Parade flair mentioned at the beginning of this review, but quickly opens into a sweeping arrangement of strings, building tension as the drums create a frantic, harried pace. The second track apes a very specific Cure sound in the guitar tone, but lyrically and stylistically, the song is unique and fun, finding a good blend of symphonic pop and new-wave swagger. The album addresses the typical moods of a love-lorn indie frontman, and so while the lyrics may have little new to say on the subject, they don't detract from the music or the album as a whole.
All in all, it's a record of lovely, heartfelt pop, and there's nothing wrong with that.
A group out of Syracuse, NY, and contemporaries of the popular group Vampire Weekend, Ra Ra Riot is the newest Chamber Pop Rock group to hit the mainstream market. The upstate New York Quintet recently released their first full length album 'The Rhumb Line' on August 19, 2008 to a generally welcoming reception. The album is full of nautical and dark themes such as death and water, but never gets too bogged down in depression, and has some light upbeat moments to help balance out the album.
I personally have to admit that I'm a sucker for groups which incorporate strings into their ranks, and as for Ra Ra Riot, the co-ed band has a cellist (Alexandra Lawn) and violinist (Rebecca Zeller). This supplementation adds a darker, more lush layer of sound to the group, which proves to be their secret weapon to their success. The song 'Too Too Too Fast' on the album strangely enough doesn't feature Rebecca or Alexandra playing prominently, and proves to be the dullest, and weakest track on the album. Without the prominence of the strings, the track begins to sound like a poor 80's covers, laden too thick with synthesizers to help cover up the lack of the strings.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Album was defective and would not play without skipping. Ordered a replacement and now it also scratches and my return window has closed.Published 2 months ago by Amelia Wood
A fun quick game for two people. Small enough that I take this backpacking.Published 15 months ago by lewisba
Ra Ra Riot always gets me moving and I love to listen to this albumPublished 22 months ago by cep34
I love this band. They make awesome music. The singer is really awesome at singing. The violin is very fun.Published on December 12, 2012 by Yeemeister
The melding of classical and alternative rock comes together in this first Ra Ra Riot album. There are similarities to the Vampire Weekend in terms of vocals but the classical... Read morePublished on July 28, 2012 by Obdurate
I discovered this album some time ago and find I keep coming back to it. The vocals and strings on "Ghost Under Rocks" and "Each Year" are mesmerizing. Read morePublished on March 1, 2012 by JTY
I received my introduction to Ra Riot when they opened for Death Cab for Cutie at a show in 2009, and I knew I'd stumbled upon a gem. Read morePublished on January 14, 2012 by Actinograph
This is literally my favorite album I've ever listened to (along with Fleetwood Mac's Rumours) Its simultaneously sad, haunting, and sentimental, yet joyous, lovely, and upbeat. Read morePublished on May 5, 2011 by Caleb Lin
Just saw and heard the group on Craig Ferguson's Late, Late Show. What a breath of fresh air!! Their debut track "Can You Tell" just compels toe tapping and/or jumping up and... Read morePublished on March 26, 2009 by Lindsey M. Whiteway