Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ra Ra Riot are a love child creation

Ra Ra Riot are the perfect mix of the best of VAMPIRE WEEKEND and DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE, which makes sense since both bands played a role in producing the band's newest album. The New York based band has been kicking around for the past few years but seem poised to move forward in a big way with the release of their latest "The Orchard". Lead Singer Wes Miles has the kind of falsetto that was made for commercial radio stardom and the songs have enough pop bounciness to be perfect for the late summer, early fall. "Boy" and "Massachusetts" both have bass lines straight from the Vampires catalogue but with less obtuse lyrics. "Foolish" has the earmarks a Death Cab song with it's mid tempo piano line that builds over the course of the song. "Shadowcasting" almost sounds like a PHOENIX song but with the Riots distinct sound to save it from parody.

One might surmise that the name dropping makes the record less enjoyable over repeated spins, but the more you hear the more you can't ignore the insanely catchy nature of the songs. They are just damn good pop songs. You simply cannot stop tapping your toe and bobbing your head. Take the record out the next time you are driving with the top down and the sun shining...it will only make the drive that much sweeter.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

New Interpol...YAWN and SIGH

Sometimes a band will trick me into giving them one more chance. COUNTING CROWS and LIVE are famous for suckering me into getting their records only to be disappointed after I listen to them three or four times. Which is why INTERPOL makes me sad. I am afraid they are another of those sucker bands. I really thought when their first record came out we were witnessing the beginning of a great band. I gave them the benefit of the doubt on the second record because they were trying to come to terms with their "it" band status. 2007's "Our Love To Admire" was so scatter shot that it is now almost unlistenable. But here I am trying to absorb the latest self-titled release an trying to remain positive.

When I heard "Lights", the free track to tease the record, I was hopeful. It appeared to have some of the early energy of the bands first record. It's got the right amount of obtuseness to the lyrics and the guitar line is hypnotizing. And therein lies the problem. Just like that I was suckered in to getting the record. The rest of the record sounds exactly the same. Now before you jump on my case and say "well you liked that song so shouldn't you then like the whole record?" let me counter. No, variance to an album is a good thing. Songs with different structures keep the listener invested after one listen. "Barricade", "Success", and "Summer Well" have the same mid tempo, off kilter guitar thing going as "Lights". They are in many ways interchangeable. "Try It On" at least changes the drum patterns and has a weird burlesque piano vibe for a bit before the traditional song chorus kicks in. But the whole thing seems like just a rehash of the last two records.

Now I may revisit this album in a month or so to see if my thoughts have changed. Sometimes that happens, but something tells me it will just be another record that resides in my itunes without a playlist attached to it...

(mp3) Interpol -- Lights (LINK REMOVED BY REQUEST)