One measure of a great band is its ability to move forward, to morph and change without losing sight of what made them great in the first place. Since forming in 2006, eclectic New York pop band Ra Ra Riot’s done just that. From dance-y, string-laden chamber-pop to the synth-y sounds you’ll here on their new album Beta Love (out today), the band’s never stopped growing and striving to be the best darn pop band they can be.
The members of Ra Ra Riot met whilst attending university in Syracuse, N.Y. Fairly quickly the band secured some high-profile shows, and within a year, they pulled up and headed to New York City with their debut, self-titled EP on the way. But in June 2007, on the eve of the EP’s release, tragedy struck. Ra Ra Riot founding member John Pike disappeared after attending a party in Rhode Island, and was later found dead. The band decided to carry on, and the following year released the critically-acclaimed record The Rhumb Line. The band followed up in 2010 with their sophomore record The Orchard.
As we mentioned, today Ra Ra Riot releases their new record Beta Love. Upon first listen, you’ll be struck by the sticky-sweet, synth-y sheen on the record. But long-time fans will recognize the same smart, quirky approach to pop music that made them such an interesting listen in the first place. A little polish never hurt anybody. They also haven’t forgotten about those lovely strings. Today’s song of the day “Is It Too Much” bridges between the band’s past and its future. The ballad’s electronic flourishes synch quite well with the strings, especially as the song climaxes. It’s the sound of a band moving forward, without forgetting where they’ve been.
You’ll be able to check out Ra Ra Riot live next month when they play The Belmont on February 20.