12 Songs, 46 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The sound of Syracuse, NY’s Ra Ra Riot is thousands of miles away from the snowy banks of the college town where they once formed. Singer Wes Miles glides on top of the band’s quirky keyboard-cello-bass attack until he’s sliding out on the dancefloor way ahead of everyone, modesty be damned. His vocals deserve the spotlight. Bassist Mathieu Santos takes a pulsing, melodic lead on several cuts (“Boy,” in particular) while the keyboards are straight from an ‘80s disco (“Too Dramatic”). These songs feature airscapes that can be solemn and beatific (“The Orchard,” “Keep It Quiet”) or swooning and earnest (“Kansai,” “Do You Remember”). There’s an innocence here that continues the brisk excitement of their 2008 debut album, The Rhumb Line. The Bonus Version includes a demo of “Shadowcasting” that’s still pretty much as elaborate in its own way as the full studio version and a video for “Boy” rounds out the package. Compared to many other higher-profile contemporary bands such as Vampire Weekend and Arcade Fire, Ra Ra Riot have their own little niche here that’s soothing and quite entertaining.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The sound of Syracuse, NY’s Ra Ra Riot is thousands of miles away from the snowy banks of the college town where they once formed. Singer Wes Miles glides on top of the band’s quirky keyboard-cello-bass attack until he’s sliding out on the dancefloor way ahead of everyone, modesty be damned. His vocals deserve the spotlight. Bassist Mathieu Santos takes a pulsing, melodic lead on several cuts (“Boy,” in particular) while the keyboards are straight from an ‘80s disco (“Too Dramatic”). These songs feature airscapes that can be solemn and beatific (“The Orchard,” “Keep It Quiet”) or swooning and earnest (“Kansai,” “Do You Remember”). There’s an innocence here that continues the brisk excitement of their 2008 debut album, The Rhumb Line. The Bonus Version includes a demo of “Shadowcasting” that’s still pretty much as elaborate in its own way as the full studio version and a video for “Boy” rounds out the package. Compared to many other higher-profile contemporary bands such as Vampire Weekend and Arcade Fire, Ra Ra Riot have their own little niche here that’s soothing and quite entertaining.

TITLE TIME
3:29
3:10
3:04
4:00
5:38
4:34
3:40
3:31
4:13
3:46
3:53
3:33

About Ra Ra Riot

Combining indie rock with chamber pop flourishes (courtesy of a small string section), Ra Ra Riot formed while the band's six members were attending college in Syracuse, New York. Milo Bonacci (guitar), Alexandra Lawn (cello), Wesley Miles (keyboard/vocals), John Pike (drums), Mathieu Santos (bass), and Rebecca Zeller (violin) first came together in January 2006, creating an eclectic sound that allowed them to play alongside the Horrors, Bow Wow Wow, and Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin within a year of the band's formation. After pulling up stakes and relocating to New York City, the band recorded a self-titled EP and prepared to release it during the summer of 2007. That June, however, Pike died after disappearing one night from a party in Fairhaven, Massachusetts. His body was later found in nearby Buzzard's Bay. Several weeks later, the mourning bandmates issued a statement confirming their continuation as a band.

Ra Ra Riot joined the roster at V2 Records later that year before switching their American operations to Barsuk Records, who signed them in May 2008 and released their debut album, The Rhumb Line, in August. Reviews were positive, and Ra Ra Riot spent the better part of a year on the road, where they toured with bands like Death Cab for Cutie and headlined their own performances as well.

During a lull in their schedule, the musicians decamped to a peach orchard in upstate New York, where they spent several weeks writing songs and recording demos. Those songs eventually made their way onto The Orchard, Ra Ra Riot's second album, which appeared in August 2010.

In 2012, Lawn announced she had left the band. The band did not replace her and in 2013 delivered their third studio album, Beta Love. Influenced by sci-fi author William Gibson, as well as the work of writer/inventor Ray Kurzweil, the album found the band moving in a more synth pop-oriented direction.

In 2016, Ra Ra Riot returned with their fourth album, Need Your Light, featuring production from former Vampire Weekend guitarist Rostam Batmanglij. Included on the album were the singles "Water" and "Absolutely." ~ Andrew Leahey & Kenyon Hopkin

Top Songs by Ra Ra Riot

Top Albums by Ra Ra Riot

Top Music Videos by Ra Ra Riot

Listeners Also Played