Marquee: Ra Ra Riot

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

What's so riotous about Ra Ra Riot, exactly? They sound a lot like Vampire Weekend, last year's impeccably dressed, well-mannered socialite pop stars, only with extra strings and less African rhythms.

Nothing wrong with that, but it's bothersome that the group's latest, The Rhumb Line, is rarely as ecstatic as a name like theirs would imply. "Too Too Too Fast" makes a run for it, but its insistent snare hits and bumblebee strings only sound frantic compared to the rest of Ra Ra Riot's catalog, tunes best described as melancholy cousins to "Come on Eileen" as sung by Sting sound-alike Wes Miles.

Misnomer aside, this is elegant indie at its best. Those who crave crunch and abrasion will have little use for it, but Ra Ra Riot's music is invigorating in its own way, stirring up a more sedate brand of euphoria through smart instrumentation, savvy melody and lockstep synchronicity.

Their show at The Basement may yet cause a riot, though, as fans eagerly jostle for sightlines in the questionably arranged nightclub. If you want to see, get there early and enjoy opening sets from Maps & Atlases and Princeton.

Ra Ra Riot

When: 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 14

Where: The Basement, Arena District