The great clichéd conceit, advanced by the fiction of Spinal Tap, is that drummers are inconsequential and as interchangeable as automobile parts. Ra Ra Riot stands in stark contrast to that assertion, living proof that nothing could be further from the truth. John Ryan Pike, the band’s original drummer, was also their lyricist, frequent musical collaborator and creative inspiration. Ra Ra Riot’s eponymous EP last year earned the band glowing press and plenty of “band to watch” notices, but just prior to its release, Pike’s drowning death shook the group to its very core.
Just weeks after their show here last April, Ra Ra Riot announced they had signed with Barsuk to release their debut full-ength album. The Rhumb Line, a brilliant combination of New Wave melodicism and Emo passion, was released in August to ecstatic acclaim — including a rare four-star indie review from Rolling Stone — and natural comparisons to Echo and the Bunnymen and the Smiths. Pike remains a presence on The Rhumb Line; he’s credited on over half of the band’s original material. Ra Ra Riot plays a brilliant combination of New Wave melodicism and Emo passion at The Southgate House with So Many Dynamos and Princeton.
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