The Orchard by Ra Ra Riot
2008’s the Rhumb Line was a really refreshing take on indie pop (whatever the fuck that is). It was a lively, innocent album that still managed to maintain some level of elegance. Like the perfect cocktail, it was sweet, yet didn’t feel unsophisticated. If you found yourself enjoying the Rhumb Line, then there will be plenty of familiar enjoyable sounds on “The Orchard”.
The main difference between the two albums is that “The Orchard” seems to be the work of a much more mature group of musicians. I’m not so sure that this is good thing. As the album title suggests, The Orchard feels like rolling hills on a particularly crisp autumn day. Which while pleasant enough, isn’t what Ra Ra Riot does best. Much of the album feels a bit restrained and overly ‘polite’. I miss a lot of the care free spunk of Rhumb Line.
The most painful part is that there are moments of that unadulterated pop music that I had come to expect from the Ra Ras. Bouncy, infectious, yet refined, “Boy” is a near perfect pop song. “Too Dramatic” and “Shadowcasting” are also really well put together tracks, even if they aren’t the most memorable. I guess that’s kind of the issue with most of “The Orchard”. It’s an album that feels like it took a lot of time to put together, but in the end you are left with very few tracks that you just need to listen to over and over again. Maybe I just don’t want to admit that summer is over. Maybe I just want it to be 2008 for the rest of my life. Maybe I am not maturing as a person/music consumer. Either way I’m not ready for Ra Ra Riot to sound this aged.
The Orchard 2.5 out of 5