After their initial baroque-pop breakthrough, things changed significantly for Ra Ra Riot before 2013’s Beta Love (QRO review), losing cellist Alexandra Lawn (QRO interview) and recruiting new drummer Kenny Bernard, and that was reflected in the record, which shifted to a decidedly more synth-driven sound. Fourth album Need Your Light keeps those electronics, but more effectively integrates the older inspire Ra Ra Riot.
Opening single “Water” perhaps captures it all best, synth-led but with a slow uplift for a piece that is both enjoyable and moving. Not every song reaches that height (“Foreign Lovers” is a bit simplistic synth-pop), but overall the album has the ‘save the world’ ethos of earlier Ra Ra Riot, like “Instant Breakup”, yet also with the electronic backdrop more recent for the band.
Ra Ra Riot are never going to be the band that broke through on their debut self-titled EP (QRO review) again, as it’s been ten years, and we’re all a lot older now. But they’ve successfully matured without losing their sunny outlook.”