Everything I heard from Ra Ra Riot’s most recent effort - Beta Love – caused me to cancel my pre-order of the album. I didn’t like the synth-centric direction in which the band seemed to be heading on it; it’s not that I mind synths, but more that I didn’t like Ra Ra Riot’s use of them. I said something disparaging about one of the songs on Twitter and the band tweeted back about it, which made me feel bad that I was harsh about a band that I rather enjoy.
That said, the band has always been a supporter of Record Store Day, which is this Saturday if you were unaware. Last year I was able to get my hands on the split 7″ they put out with Delicate Steve which contained their cover of the Steve Winwood classic “Valerie.” This year the band is stepping their game up three inches and putting out a four-song 10″ called Binary Mind, which features three demo versions of tracks that made their way onto Beta Love, and this new track, called “All I Fear.”
“All I Fear” has been kicking around the Ra Ra Riot catalogue since 2007 according to bassist Mathieu Santos, which may explain why it hearkens back to the band’s chamber pop roots, replete with the strings that previously enjoyed a more front-and-center placement in their oeuvre.
The band is headed out on tour this summer with the likes of The Postal Service and The Shins, though neither of those bands will be on the bill when they hit Rochester on Wednesday, June 12 at Water Street Music Hall. Speaking from my own experience, that’s a show that shouldn’t be missed if you’re in the area.