Syracuse-based band Ra Ra Riot made their official debut in 2008 with the full-length The Rhumb Line, with a few tracks from the 2007 self-titled EP sneaking in for a second appearance. The momentum was extremely poppy, poetic and upbeat, but with something very distinctive – a solid string section that was front and center, not just an afterthought or mere accompaniment. It was an integral part of the quintet’s unique imagery.
However, around 2010 and the release of their follow-up, The Orchard, some changes were in the air for the band’s musical direction, including a major shift in their line-up. The departure of cellist Alexandra Lawn seemed to be the catalyst for the markedly different sound on their latest album Beta Love. And it really feels like quite a different vibe from the chamber pop particulars they became known for. The focus shifts toward major electro-pop territory, obviously a bit lighter on strings and overflowing with ’80s synths, infectious beats and catchy choruses.
Ra Ra Riot had an excellent live performance today in Studio 1A, but don’t forget their show tonight at The Belmont, 305 W. 6th St. Pacific Air starts out the show. Doors open early at 7 p.m. Check it out.