Gentle Riot

Finally, nine months after being released in America, Ra Ra Riots sophomore album "The Orchard" is released here in the UK. Having grown to the level where they were selling out good sized venues up and down the country, including playing festivals like Reading and Leeds it can only be considered a bizarre decision by the record labels not to have picked up their follow up to "The Rhumb Line" earlier, one that has left us scratching our heads in bemusement. However, this is now thankfully rectified and "The Orchard" is released here on 16th May and immediately followed up by live shows the same week.

Recorded on a peach farm, the ambience created from the aptly named "The Orchard" is a bit more subtle than the previous album, probably a reflection of the location of where it was recorded and yet is perfect for the current warm weather we are having. Bassist Mat Santos recently told us that the album was more landlocked in its feel and although strange in his description, you do understand what he means.

There is a big surprise in the shape of 'You and I Know', front man Wes Miles takes a break from his singing duties and Alexandra Lawn puts down her cello to sing beautifully, in what is fast becoming a firm favourite. Thankfully there is still plenty of cello from Alexandra, violin, from Rebecca Zeller and Wes Miles vocals, which quintessentially holds the whole mood of Ra Ra Riots music together.

The album kicks off with the self titled track and is a prime example of the general feel to the song, slow and caring with the string section playing on the emotions. The whole album is not made up in the same style, 'Boy', a previous single release and 'Too Dramatic', are full of energy and can easily be pictured being danced to at the live shows.

Maybe Ra Ra Riot, or the label here, have missed a trick. To compensate for the album taking so long to be released in the UK, they probably should have put an extra or live track or two as a bonus as one would have expected the loyal fans having already picked "The Orchard" up, one way or another.