Ra Ra Riot has had quite a turbulent year; from the rises of nabbing an opening spot on the Editors' September tour, to the falls of the premature death of drummer John Pike. Through the hardships the band has only become stronger, and are continuing to pick up the pace; just in time for the debut self-released self-titled EP to hit stores.
On the opening notes of the release's first lo-fi track, "Each Year," images of college radio immediately flow into my brain. I say this only lovingly, as the format is something that I am close to personally. The layered vocals and instruments (cello, violin, guitar, drums, etc) are reminiscent of a less-in-your-face Arcade Fire, who also had a run in with death prior to their debut a few years ago. On "Everest" hints of R.E.M. come in, shadowed by a danceable beat and a cowbell heard in the distance. The eerily titled "Dying Is Fine" is surprisingly uplifting, and leads itself nicely into the single-worthy "Can You Tell."
Finishing up with "A Manner To Act" and "Ghost Under Rocks," Ra Ra Riot's debut EP twinkles and shows promise, and it should be interesting to see what these guys pull out of their collective hats for a full length down the road. In the meantime these six songs are a nice introduction to the band, and something worth checking out sooner rather than later.