Ra Ra Riot ditches its lyrical melodies and classical instruments in favor of heavy synthesizers and catchier beats in the band’s third studio album, “Beta Love,” which was released on Jan. 22.
The first thing that fans of the band will notice about the new album is, in fact, this “new approach” to music. In their last album “Orchard,” which was released in August 2010, they noticeably played much softer music, but the album still carried their signature pop-beat.
In “Beta Love,” the band shifts from their indie roots to synth-pop, which could be due to the absence of cellist Alexandra Lawn. Rather than juxtaposing classical instruments with synthetic beats, “Beta Love” focuses primarily on the electronic element.
Overall, the album offers listeners a variety of upbeat tracks that never lose momentum for a second. Even the slower songs are danceable and contain a quiet, quick beat. Even while they are exploring somber topics like unrequited love, Ra Ra Riot ensures that listeners are dancing the entire time.
For example, the track “When I Dream” showcases vocalist Wes Miles’s breathtaking vibrato and falsetto as he sings, “When I dream, it’s not of you.”
In “For Once,” Rebecca Zeller’s violin plays alongside Miles in the song most reminiscent of previous albums. It proves that Ra Ra Riot can still maintain some of their most memorable characteristics as they move towards synth-pop.
Unlike many albums that taper off during their final track, “I Shut Off” closes the album with one of the most fun and upbeat songs of the entire album.
While loyal fans may be disappointed with the band’s new direction, the album shows that Ra Ra Riot can successfully blend their previous features with more contemporary dance music.
Melissa Murray can be reached at Melissa.firstname.lastname@example.org.