Ra Ra Riot / The Orchard

The OrchardRa Ra Riot is an American indie rock band from Syracuse, New York, consisting of vocalist Wes Miles, bassist Mathieu Santos, guitarist Milo Bonacci, cellist Alexandra Lawn, violinist Rebecca Zeller, and drummer Gabriel Duquette.

The band released their second album called The Orchard [9] on August 24, 2010. “The Orchard” was produced by Ra Ra Riot and Andrew Maury, and 9 of the ten tracks were mixed by Death Cab For Cutie’s Chris Walla, and one mixed by Vampire Weekend‘s Rostam Batmanglij. The band played several new songs from the album during a February performance in Brooklyn, NY.

The Orchard—-Beginning with a nice lush sound, this is so pleasant that you really don’t even feel a need for a vocal. When the voice does enter the song, you smile with gratitude…sorry that you thought it was not necessary. This is just wonderful…full of strings and lush orchestrations, this is emotional, at times playful and just damn delicious!

Boy—-Delivering a much more rambunctious sound with a slight dub effect for fun, this is fantastic. One of the best songs from this release, I find this to be light, fun and a damn pleasant listen. I love this band…this is a bit different from The Rhumb Line, but it shows development and an uncanny ear for a pop sound that was missing before. This is damn near brilliant.

Too Dramatic—-A bit more sedate with a vocal that starts the exact minute the music does, this turns into a pop piece of mastery. A nice tale of love that has grown stale, the vocal is so damn pleasant it is almost too easy to miss the point. This is remarkable…the music is something out of the 80’s SKA scene…it works wonderfully well. This is a triumph.

Foolish—-A bit more sedate, even the vocal seems to be reeled in and controlled. this is wonderful…the lush sound of the band is truly remarkable. The drums are sedate but incredibly important…matching the vocal inflections wonderfully. This has a nice building edge to it…the song seems to keep escalating without ever really going anywhere…this is fantastic.

Massachusetts—-Coming out of the silence rather slowly, the vocals all combine to deliver this bright, poppy beach track that makes me feel warm all over. This is brilliant pop…I love the simple melodies and the masterful strings that turn this poppy track into something rather beautiful. I am so impressed with this release…damn to the critics who pan this. I think this is brilliant!

You And I Know—-Full of atmosphere and a remarkable introduction, this is breathtaking! The female vocal on this track is at a nice place in the release, giving you a nice diversion and change of pace. The vocal in itself is so serene and pure that you are sucked in to it…finding yourself daydreaming through the lushness of it all. This is rich, layered and delivered with a texture you want to take a bite out of. I love this. This becomes nicely noisy as it progresses….like I always say…song placement is everything!

Shadowcasting—-Although this returns to the classic male vocal, the song still has enough of a fresh sound to still keep your attention. This has a slight Maroon 5 sound to me…really reminding me of them. this is nice and jangly with just enough of an Alternative sound to do really well on College Radio. Great!

Do You Remember—-Again, the drums are key to this track…followed by the underlying lush string arrangements and the remarkable tender vocal. this has a really nice tempo to it…leaving you wanting more long after this is over. To me, this is the best song on this release…I love this. It carries a mood that is a bit schizophrenic…the lyrics are rather intense, while the music remains happy and jaunty. This is just a remarkable release!

 Kansai—-Bombastic drums open this song and a slight Country sound from the guitars lead the track into a complete different direction than you thought it would go. when the vocal enters, the song settles quite a bit…but only for a tad. When the chorus kicks in, you are wrapped in lush strings that ride above a really forward drum mix and a damn pleasant vocal. the lyrics are rich…delivering line after line designed to make you think and allowing you to draw your own conclusions. This is fantastic!

Keep It Quiet—-With a very interesting intro sound, the vocal enters set to a deep and dark musical landscape. This is remarkably dark and present…full of lyrics that make you question every turn. This is a heartsick lyrical delivery…full of a sadness but still containing a bit of the pompous quality of the band. Remarkably beautiful and lush….this is a stellar release!

***** out of 5 [!!!!!]


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