|Rah Rah — The Poet's Dead (2012)|
Rah Rah — The Poet's Dead
Location: Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Album release: October 22, 2012
Record Label: Hidden Pony Records
01. Art & a Wife (3:21)
02. Prairie Girl (3:21)
03. First Kiss (4:20)
04. 20s (3:40)
05. Dead Man (5:21)
06. The Poet's Dead (3:37)
07. I'm a Killer (3:35)
08. Run (2:55)
09. Fake Our Love (3:23)
10. Saint (3:52)
¶ The Poet s Dead is the third and most accomplished album to date by Regina, SK Sextet Rah Rah. Building on the strong foundation of their last release, the critically acclaimed Breaking Hearts, this new ten song effort effectively captures a band at the peak of their abilities doing what they do best.
¶ The Poet s Dead, recorded in late 2011 under the production guidance of indie rock recording geniuses Gus Van Go and Werner F (The Stills, Hollerado, Priestess), clearly displays that Rah Rah has truly fine-tuned the essence of the band and refined the maturity of their sound.
¶ Lyrically, The Poet s Dead showcases some of their finest, most direct songwriting yet and is their strongest collective step forward. From the self-reflections of 20 s, Prairie Girl, and the album s title track to the wistful hope of First Kiss and the twisted anything-for-love paean I m a Killer, the songs discuss maturity, growing up and life in a rock and roll band from a group that have spent much of the past few years doing exactly that.
BY: Luc Rinaldi / GRID RATING: 8/10 (http://www.thegridto.com)
¶ Prairie rockers Rah Rah kick off their latest album with a wistful display of meta-musicianship, recalling tour vans and beer cans before they announce, “Now I just want a life / full of art and a wife.” With every subsequent song, however, that wish to trade in rock ’n’ roll for a quiet life becomes harder and harder to believe.
¶ The Poet’s Dead, the Regina sextet’s third full-length, is the band at its best. It’s filled with natural hooks, a charming lightness and Stars-like vocal interplay (almost everyone in the band sings), and moves along effortlessly. Whether it’s the straightforward pop rock of “Prairie Girl,” the grandiose, swirling synthetic layers of “20s” or the rootsy, Wilco-like alt-folk of “Fake Our Love,” the album’s 10 tracks comprise an entertaining sonic variety—even if half of them seem to be about making music and getting older. Of course, maturing has its perks.
¶ The Poet’s Dead feels better planned out and more refined than the group’s first two records, and possesses the confidence of a band that’s mastered its craft. Fans will no doubt be pleased—that is, as long as these twentysomethings don’t make good on their lyrics and actually settle down.
¶ Playlist picks “Art & a Wife,” “Prairie Girl,” “20s,” “Fake Our Love”
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 06, 2012 | POSTED BY: ERIC GALIETTI
¶ Without knowing Rah Rah is from Regina, Saskatchewan, one can quickly tell by listening to their latest record The Poet's Dead that it was written by a lively group of grown-up country kids. Similarly, without knowing that southern Saskatchewan is mostly prairie land, one could just as well pick up the new album and get a good idea about the life and landscape it came from. Besides the dead giveaway second track "Prairie Girl," Rah Rah's third LP is full of catchy rock songs that hint at folk life, and tell tales of growing up and being in a band.
¶ The album's opener "Art & a Wife" struts in with a countrified guitar riff. Singer Marshall Burns reminisces about playing along to Crazy Horse, touring with his first band, and trying to get girls. He then admits that nowadays he just wants to settle down, so long as he has music. A similar nostalgia continues through the album, as the songs alternate from male to female lead vocals. Rah Rah's dual-gender vocal approach works in a couple of ways, not only offering a welcome mix of tones and harmonies, but also humanizing the characters who are telling their tales. In "20s," we find Kristina Hedlund (vocals/violin/accordion) singing about feeling old in her 30s after years of "rock and roll," and we want to believe multi-instrumentalist Erin Passmore when she proposes robbing a bank for a lover in "I'm a Killer."
¶ Since it's hard for anyone not to relate to things like regret, drinking, being far from home, being at home, falling in and out of love, broken promises, and knowing people from either a farm or city, the lyrics on The Poet's Dead are easily digested. However, the music is what makes the album tasty. Guitar tones range from a solid twang in the title track, to strumming and reverb in "Prairie Girl," and even some messy overdrive on "Dead Men." Light organ touches "Fake Our Love," synth sounds introduce "I'm a Killer," and strings glide over the galloping "Saint."
¶ I wasn't too surprised when I read that Rah Rah does a lot of instrument switching during their live shows. Each song on the record seems to introduce at least one new sound and a different voice. The Poet's Dead is a bright, mid-tempo alternative rock album with a young heart and a folk spirit. It feels like you're riding on Rah Rah's tour bus, staring out the window, listening to the band tell you stories about people and places passing by.
|Rah Rah — The Poet's Dead (2012)|