Ra Ra Riot formed in 2006 in Syracuse as an indie rock band. Currently, the band consists of Wes Miles, Milo Bonacci, Rebecca Zeller, Mathieu Santos, and Kenny Bernard. They have toured with great bands like Art Brut, Editors, and Tokyo Police Club, as well as completing two tours in the UK and two headlining tours in the US. They have released two albums, The Rhumb Line (2008) and The Orchard (2010), and they are currently working on their third album, Beta Love, set to be released January 22, 2013. This band is great in every way and, despite a strong fan base (small, but strong, much like Tokyo Police Club and Sleeperstar), the band is still not famous; the fact that a band like Of Monsters and Men or Band of Horses could become famous before Ra Ra Riot is slightly ridiculous (and both Of Monsters and Men and Band of Horses are great bands, but Ra Ra Riot is just better).
Shortly after I was getting interested in music again (see here), my oldest sister introduced me to this band; they are amazing. Their sound is just so pure and the music itself is almost cleansing. Most music attaches itself to you in one way or another, whether it's Ke$ha and wakes you up or makes you excited, or Death Cab for Cutie and depresses you, or your favorite band that just makes you happy, but Ra Ra Riot seems completely adept at creating songs that spew truth and emotions that wash over the listener and leave them feeling good. Not excited or sad or happy, but just good; their music is like a detox for your soul. There is not a lot of music, nor bands, who are able to make you feel perfectly at peace with just a few songs, which is why Ra Ra Riot is so great.
There is not a single song on their first album (The Rhumb Line) that is bad; it is one of the few albums where saying "each song is better than the last" is more a factual statement than a common phrase. That is truly saying something, because "Dying Is Fine" is, to me, perfection, but I am willing to accept the fact that every song after it on the album ("Can You Tell," "Too Too Fast," "Oh, La," "Suspended In Gaffa," and "Run My Mouth") is just as great and that the compositions and lyrics do get better as the album progresses. All of the lyrics are written so beautifully and the compositions are put together perfectly to match those lyrics and Wes Miles delivers each line with so much emotion that it's easy to get caught up in the music. Of course, just because the album becomes progressively better does not mean that the first few songs are not as good. This is a band whose music begins as something amazing, and only grows from there. "Ghost Under Rocks" is just amazing, "St. Peter's Day Festival" has great guitar and violin riffs, and "Winter '05" and "Each Year" are both fantastic. I could describe every song on this album as "perfect" in one way or another, but the only way to truly realize how great the band and their album are is to just listen to it.
Their second album, The Orchard, came out just as perfectly as the first and shows just how much the band has matured, composition wise and lyrically. You can hear those sharper sounds in the violins and the more ominous tone of the drums because the album is less starstruck and expectant while being more realistic, but it is still a cleansing relief from everything else. "Boy" actually did garner some attention for the band when it was used in a commercial, but that does not lessen the greatness of the song. While "The Orchard" is a truly great song and, again, my favorite song(s) is not at the end of the album, the album, yet again, gets better as it progresses. "Too Dramatic" is just an amazing song and I can never get enough of it, but every song after it gets better, and "Shadowcasting" is just one example of how much better the album becomes as it progresses and the lyrics and compositions from the band grow and become more thoughtful, intricate, and wonderful. "Foolish" and "Massachusetts" may be ignored because they are placed in the middle of the album, but they are just as wonderfully put together as the other songs and, like every Ra Ra Riot song, just get better the more you listen to them. "You and I Know" is one of the few songs which features their female vocalist, and that is the only way the song could have sounded as great as it does. "Do You Remember" and "Kansai" sound just as perfect as any other Ra Ra Riot song filled with meaningful lyrics and perfect compositions. "Keep It Quiet" is amazing; it's just pure Ra Ra Riot and pure perfection. There is nothing better than the closing song on a Ra Ra Riot album, because it is always the absolute best which the band has to offer from that album. "Keep It Quiet" has a composition which does just that and emotions which are so clearly defined with expertly written lyrics and a vocalist who does an amazing job of portraying all these feelings.
Every band grows up between albums and Ra Ra Riot shows how to do so flawlessly. I cannot wait for their third album to be released and every time I listen to "Beta Love" I get a little more excited for January 22nd.