On their debut album, Ra Ra Riot impressively maintains their save-the-earth innocence while pushing forward. The buildup to Ra Ra Riot’s first full-length was long and, at times, difficult, but it polished the band’s free-flowing, organic rock energy and failed to disrupt it. Familiar bounces mix with more dramatic movements as The Rhumb Line concludes a major phase for the band.
A youthful freedom has always been the hallmark of the six-piece, and the band’s had opportunities to lose it. But through all of the events up until the point of The Rhumb Line’s release they’ve developed it into a wiser, but no less passionate, sound. The album opens with the fleet-footed shuffle of “Ghost Under Rocks” as Wes Miles’ voice skates over a tense, driven rhythm that represents their more mature side. But their uplifted side quickly makes its entrance on the next track, “Each Year”, in the form of head-bobbing percussion. It goes on to fuel the quick pace of the late John Pike’s “St. Peter’s Day Festival” and the summer camp flavor of “Dying Is Fine”.
Throughout the album, the band’s able to smoothly change gears on momentous rhythms. The creamy melancholy of “Winter ’05” and the off-kilter sway of the Kate Bush cover, “Suspended In Gaffa” pepper the otherwise chugging energy of The Rhumb Line. Even the synth-powered “Too Too Too Fast” is a clever mix of prog- and hoedown-rock.
Several years of touring and an EP have finally culminated in Ra Ra Riot’s energetic & cathartic debut full-length. Tougher moments along the way have added well-placed emotion to care-free vibrance, giving The Rhumb Line an incredible backdrop for their uptempo chamber-pop.
MP3 Stream: “Too Too Too Fast”