Ra Ra Riot
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Need Your Light, the fourth full-length from Brooklyn's Ra Ra Riot, is the sound of a band being reinvigorated by their own existence. Correspondingly, the album sees the band — Wes Miles (vocals), Mathieu Santos (bass), Milo Bonacci (guitar), Rebecca Zeller (violin), and Kenny Bernard (drums) — getting back to their house party roots without abandoning the more heady soundscapes they explored with 2013's Beta Love. The result is an album that's celebratory without being solipsistic and that sees the group collectively mining their prior experiences in order to craft something that looks toward the future with an optimistic gaze.
Ra Ra Riot had planned for a longer break after Beta Love. However, after a few months, they couldn't help themselves from working on new music. "The inspiration came very quickly," Miles says, explaining that he decided to fly out to Los Angeles to work with previous producer Dennis Herring (Modest Mouse, Elvis Costello) in order to start fleshing out ideas. Shortly afterward, the group went on a writing trip to Milwaukee and soon found themselves crafting Need Your Light with a host of previous collaborators, including Ryan Hadlock in Seattle (who produced 2008's The Rhumb Line) and Andrew Maury in Brooklyn (a longtime friend, collaborator and live sound engineer who also co-produced 2010's The Orchard). Also in the mix — as he has been since the band's inception — is Vampire Weekend's Rostam. He has a long history of working with Ra Ra Riot (including the Discovery project with Miles), yet this marks the first time he's actually taken on the role of producer for the band.
Whether Miles is singing about something fantastic or mundane, there's an enduring energy to the songs on this album which illustrate that in many ways Ra Ra Riot are still only getting started.