Ra Ra Riot: The Rhumb Line
College-rock quintet emerges with dynamic LP, leaves room for growth
creates this vessel's momentum, though, is its distinctive string section, one
moment stirring a decorative zephyr, the next billowing the sails with
as much power as a shredding guitar solo. Throughout, Wes Miles'
vocals are equal parts gentle and urgent, sometimes mimicking the
songs' string arrangements. On "Winter '05," he perfects a faux-Brit,
Morrissey-inspired warble, adding another layer of frost to the window
pane of a lovelorn co-ed.
The Rhumb Line loses force toward the end, with songs like "Too Too Too Fast," falling victim to repetitive choruses. "Run My Mouth" features some of the album's dreamiest strings, but Miles' oft-delicate quiver becomes shouty and forced. But the ship does not capsize; The Rhumb Line instead drops anchor as a solid debut that beckons refinement and experimentation further down its course.