After relentless touring behind their acclaimed debut, The Rhumb Line, Ra Ra Riot took a break. They moved into a house on a peach orchard in Penn Yan, N.Y. to write new material.
The result, The Orchard, isn’t drastically different. Songs like “Too Dramatic” or “Massachusetts” could be leftovers from The Rhumb Line. But the album also shows a more comfortable side of the band. The prominent bass line in “Boy” and cellist Alexandra Lawn’s lead vocals on the ballad “You and I Know” push the band into exciting new territories. The Orchard also features more synths, including the Steve Winwood-styled breakdown on “Foolish.”
Gabe Duquette’s powerful drumming shapes the albums as it ebbs and flows. Where The Rhumb Line often felt static, these songs naturally take on a life of their own. Ra Ra Riot never loses focus on The Orchard. It firmly validates their significance in today’s indie music.