New Yorkers Ra Ra Riot return with their second instalment The Orchard. Choice for the album title reflects the location to which the band wrote and recorded the music for the production; yes in an orchard, peach if you must know. The opening track entitled ‘The Orchard’ familiarises those who are already aware with RRR with orchestral sounding strings to frontman Wes Miles’ infectious vocals. It’s promising from the get-go, one lyric from the opener “found myself while I was away”, only suggests to the ethereal beauty of recording at the orchard and RRR manage to captivate this from the outset.
The first single for release ‘Boy’ is catchy, energetic and gets even better after a few more listens. The orchestral strings still ever prevalent in the production, this is what RRR do so well, they manage to fuse together their indie pop sounds with their classical influence creating something refreshing and organic to the ears. ‘Do You Remember’ rekindles the collaborative force of RRR with Vampire Weekend’s frontman Rostam Batmanglij mixing the track. Wes Miles and Rostam teamed up last year for a side project Discovery; a major jamming session combining elements of distorted electro indie beats and auto-tone. So ‘Do You Remember’ seems somewhat a surprise, as rather than reimburse you with familiar electro funk beats you resume the romantic indie feel of the album, nonetheless it is still a great listen and definitely one of the better songs on the album.
RRR are all about creating beautiful sounds and no doubt they succeed in this with some stellar productions yet one still can’t help but feel there is a lot more they could have pulled out of themselves with the potential this quintet hold. The latter of the album becomes quite repetitive at times ‘Shadowcasting’ as a song alone sounding new and exciting however when inserted back into the frame of the whole album this sounds all too familiar. The same could be said for the track ‘Foolish.’ RRR are brilliant at what they do and you cannot fault this, they have a sound so diverse and capturing yet still the album seems to lack the intensity of their debut The Rhumb Line bar a few tracks.
The Orchard has moments of brilliance, the orchestral sounds shooting you to a whole other world but by the final moments you are left you thinking something amazing could and should have happened. The album peaks far too early leaving you to wonder was that all?
From Gemma Suyat.