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$25.00 – General Admission
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After being a band for a decade, it’s easy to get disillusioned with the tedium of adulthood, but Need Your Light, the fourth full-length from RaRa Riot, is the sound of a band being reinvigorated by their own existence. Correspondingly, the album sees the group—which originated in Syracuse but has now dispersed all over the country—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 saccharine, and that sees the group collectively mining their prior experiences to craft something that looks toward the future with an optimistic gaze.
Listening to Need Your Light, it’s quickly apparent that the heightened level of experimentation and expansive soundscapes wouldn’t have been possible without the band’s synth-heavy approach to 2013’s Beta Love. This is clearly evident in the opening track “Water,” which starts off with a syncopated groove and minimalist instrumentation before gradually building into a triumphant, 90’s soul call to arms. Alternately, “Bouncy Castle” resides on the opposite side of the sonic-spectrum with its carefree neo-soul refrain. Yet both of the songs were created with the group’s incendiary live performances in mind. “We wanted to make sure all of the songs on this album could be reproduced live because performing has always been our greatest strength and something we felt we got away from with our last record,” Miles says. “A lot of these songs incorporate the same instrumentation we’ve used in the past, but the vibe is somewhere we haven’t gone before, which is exciting.”
In the past RaRa Riot have latched onto cerebral concepts like the Singularity or futurism, but with this album they cast a wider net, focusing on everything from sexual relationships to the Challenger explosion. “ It was fun to write songs about Internet affairs and retain a kind of tech-aspect, but it’s much more understated,” Miles explains. The stories are conveyed in such a way that it leaves the listener the chance to attach a more personal meaning to each of the 10 tracks. Whether Miles is singing about something fantastic or mundane, there’s an enduring energy to the songs on Need Your Light, which illustrates that in many ways, RaRa Riot are still only getting started.