Trendy Tunes: Ra Ra Riot

A six-person band hailing from Syracuse, New York, has recently gained enough momentum to reach the cusp of stardom, despite being signed to an independent label. The band presents itself in an original way with their unconventional combination of instruments. While the typical combination of guitar, drums, bass and occasional piano sounds give the band a decent foundation, the spiciness of the electric violin and cello really keep people on their feet wanting more. With a female violinist and a female cellist, the gender diversity gives Ra Ra Riot a fresh twist that sets them apart from the all-male groups that make up most of today’s music industry. With the two exuberant girls setting the standard for the remaining four guys, the high level of excitement and energy on stage really gets the audience involved. The bright, quick melodies created by the guitar, bass, cello and violin fit well with the upbeat drum rhythms that coat the songs with a crisp layer. Unlike many drummers who write parts that can be overbearing, Gabriel Duquette, a new addition to the group, manages to input beats into every song that both compliment the other instruments and drive the tune steadily along. The overall sound produced from the interweaving of the instruments and lead singer Wes Miles’ soothing voice puts a delightful taste in your mouth that becomes more addictive each time you listen to Ra Ra Riot’s songs. Ra Ra Riot’s music also reveals great emotional depth, found not only in the lyrics, but also in the tone. In 2007 the band’s former drummer and founding member John Pike drowned while swimming in Buzzards Bay, near Fairhaven, MA. The sadness that the band conveys through songs such as “Dying is Fine” evokes a great deal of passion and sympathy from the listener that make the lyrics meaningful. Since their last album, “The Rhumb Line,” was released in 2008, Ra Ra Riot’s continued success on the road has helped them delve further into the indie spotlight. Touring with bands like Death Cab for Cutie and Wilco has also helped them gain a significant amount of recognition. Whether or not Ra Ra Riot gains enough widespread popularity to make them a prolific force in the music community, it is still worthwhile to pick up their CD or see them live when the chance comes around.