Ra Ra Riot
The Rhumb Line



by brutebeard USER (13 Reviews)
December 24th, 2009 | 9 replies

Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Ra-Ra-ah-ah-ah-ah, Riot is the stu-uff! (see, even Lady Gaga seems into them) A merry group for one and all, this Syracuse band creates songs that resound with cheerful hooks, and orchestral, poppy collaborations.

With all the success and overload of indie pop bands over the past couple years, it’s essential to either narrow down your preferences or search for those who consecrate themselves from the whirlpool of sameness. Ra Ra Riot sure has the upper hand in uniqueness of the genre with their variety of instrumentation. On top of rockin’ drums, guitar, and bass, they incorporate keys, cello, and violin- generously. The heavily blanketed low end cello and high end violin benefit the cause of the songs rather than take the heart of the song out of context.

RRR’s debut album- “The Rhumb Line” is a solid first effort. The vocals of lead singer- Wesley Miles reel you in with little time to waste, and some songs are accompanied with female vocals. Percussion is big in this album, steady and not overkill. Very conscience of when to execute fills. The guitar and bass work are not too out of the ordinary. But the strings fill in the gaps tremendously, giving their sound a modern, yet traditional style.

Most of the tracks on this album are upbeat and dance-inducing. There are a couple toned down, easy going jams, though. A downside is that some of the tunes and rhythms begin to mesh together, making it difficult to tell different patterns apart. Lyrically, the topics mainly deal with relationship matters. They are an easy read, and contain some heart-warming ideas. “The Rhumb Line” is fine for both dancing the night away and relaxing your stress away.

RRR are definitely on the same grounds as perhaps over-praised Vampire Weekend and Grizzly Bear. The orchestral dynamic is what they are built on and it is clearly working for them. There are few songs that don’t rock on this album, but the ones that stand out are for sure hits. Such stand out’s I would refer are: Dying Is Fine, Can You Tell, Too Too Too Fast, and Ghost Under Rocks. Miles’ voice at times is reminiscent to Lennon, Mccartney, and Sting. In fact, RRR seems to be influenced by the Beatles songs which utilized orchestral accompaniment, especially the last track entitled “Run My Mouth”. If you spread out the grandeur of “Eleanor Rigsby” and divided it up into ten songs, you would end up with this promising effort named “The Rhumb Line”.

Ra Ra Riot have made their mark on the indie pop scene, and with a start this favorable, I do not suspect them to slow down any time in the near future. Thanks for incorporating a somewhat intriguing aspect to your music, guys and gals. If I were a lad that played a symphonic stringed instrument, I would surely be jamming along to this record in my bedroom. Otherwise, it is a satisfying listen regardless.

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user ratings (144)

Comments:Add a Comment 
Staff Reviewer
December 25th 2009


Album Rating: 2.5

shocked this hadn't been reviewed yet, good stuff

December 26th 2009


Great review man. Can't wait to give this more of a listen.

January 6th 2010


Album Rating: 3.5

Getting now.

Digging: Vreid - I Krig

Staff Reviewer
October 25th 2010


Album Rating: 4.0

Broadly described as a poppier Arcade Fire, Syracuse based Ra Ra Riot display immaculate promise on their debut LP ‘The Rhumb Line’. Coming complete with a cellist & violinist, the sextet also add keys & percussion to assist the subtle, effortless melodies. The death of drummer John Pike resonates throughout, but Ra Ra Riot balance the mournful & hopeful near-perfectly. While 4 songs are taken from their raw & under-rated debut EP, they have been re-recorded to better suit the flow of this well-crafted, if slightly front-loaded, album. Recommended Tracks: Ghost Under Rocks, Dying Is Fine, Each Year & Run My Mouth.

September 7th 2011


Album Rating: 4.0

only heard "can you tell." it's dece. not really prompting me to check out more tracks though.

November 13th 2011


oh la rulessssssssss

August 3rd 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

i listened to this once and never gave it much thought, i gave it a second listen and now I'm hooked.

November 24th 2013


Album Rating: 3.0

This album is pretty damn good, I actually went out and got the CD of it.

Ghost Under Rocks is one of my favorite songs,in my top 30 anyway....its great I never get tired of it.

February 6th 2014


Album Rating: 4.0

one of my favorite albums. always fun to revisit. too bad their other ones aren't very good.

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