Ra Ra Riot: The Orchard (Review)

Ra Ra Riot
The Orchard

Syracuse, NY’s Ra Ra Riot is a chamber pop band in the most organic sense of the word. In addition to the usual rock instrumentation – guitar, bass, drums, & keyboards – they also include a violinist and cellist in their complement. While their debut The Rhumb Line demonstrated that RRR’s brand of chamber pop was able to summon both the delicacy of indie classical with the heft that rock requires, their latest recording, The Orchard, further synthesizes these various elements into a potent musical concoction.

Recorded near a peach orchard in Upstate New York (hence the album title), this recording documents a band just hitting its stride, in effusive polyglot fashion. Ra Ra Riot marries both lilting pastoral pop, as on the lovely “Keep it Quiet,” with supple rhythms. Indeed, the syncopated beats and pan-ethnic grooves that populate their leadoff single “Boy” would likely make Vampire Weekend jealous!

The title tune’s efficacious amalgam of minor-key string ostinati, soaring vocals, and a loping pop groove makes for a convenient snapshot of Ra Ra Riot’s music circa 2010: catchy, clever, multihued, and memorable.