A super bloom is a phenomenon where an unusually wet winter causes dormant seeds to unexpectedly spring into bloom and create vibrant fields of wildflowers. Ra Ra Riot’s name for their latest album is an ambitious choice that can either associate itself with the wild power of flora or fall flat and be forgotten by the wayside as nature continues on. This reviewer was a little skeptical at first, but each song from Superbloom found a way to embody a range of genres while still fitting together like a diverse bouquet.
When looking for Superbloom in the record store, so long as you can find a physical store these days, you will probably see Ra Ra Riot’s work in the indie-pop section among the rise of fiercely independent artists who are still aware of what is popular today. Songs like “Flowers,” “This Time of Year,” and “Dangerous” double down on the foot-tapping present throughout the album with pleasant electronic beats adding to the instruments from the five bandmates. The indie-pop songs of Superbloom go through a light production touch and stay away from the heavy pop production that is replayed to death on the radio. It is soothing while catchy, and can be revisited for a calm day or dwindling evening.
There are several slow and beautiful songs that make up the drooping iris flowers of this bouquet. “Bad to Worse,” War & Famine,” and “Gimmie Time” slow the tracks down to showcase some sentimentality. Lead singer Wes Miles can hold a long seductive high note for story-based songs without needing to loop back to a chorus. While softer songs, they keep the listener engaged and wanting to sing along.
Then there are the roses of the bunch, the indie rock songs that pump up a crowd and fill seats. “Belladona,” “Endless Pain/Endless Joy,” and “A Check For Daniel” pick up the pace with memorable choruses that are hard not to hum to. While the slower songs mentioned earlier move away from repetitive choruses, the indie rock bunch uses them effectively to build a groovy cadence. Here the band really shines as they get to explore a range of melodies together.
Ra Ra Riot has the allure of your local band with the experience and energy to draw in a wide audience. Look no further than the album cover of pixilated flowers to get an idea of what you are getting into. Superbloom is their fifth studio album and they seem to be getting better with each trip to the recording studio.