Ra Ra Riot’s latest actually came out in North America last August, but got its European crotch hooked by legal barbed wire as they fled the major label badlands for indie imprint Barsuk. Sadly, in the era of instant gratification, six months is a mighty long while to be kept waiting – especially when ‘The Orchard’ sounds so much like an artefact from the recent past, with notes of Vampire Weekend, Temper Trap and New Pornographers infusing this sober collection of lightweight orchestral pop. Singles ‘Boy’ and ‘Too Dramatic’ typify the clipped, controlled style the Syracuse band have honed with years of touring, but though their influences supposedly include big-hearted over-emoters like Kate Bush and Arcade Fire, there’s precious little drama here. The rigid grip of trained musicians keeps every song predictably on course to shape an underwhelming record of sugar-free dorm-room schmindie-pop.

By Chal Ravens

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