Hurray for the Riff Raff
LOOK OUT MAMA
LOOSE MUSIC 20.8.12
I’ve written of my admiration for Hurray for the Riff Raff on these pages before, so it was a pleasant surprise when this new album dropped on my doormat a few weeks ago. The ‘band’ previously consisted of vocalist Alynda Lee Segarra as its centrepiece often with just acoustic or violin accompaniment. They’ve now expanded to encompass a fuller sound but with Alynda’s gorgeous soulful tones at its heart.
The first few tracks are still largely acoustic led, with that voice allowed to be the star of the show with ‘Little Black Star’ and the title track being gentle country tinged swing-alongs. As the album develops that new found group ethic comes into play – with rollicking psychedelia on ‘Ode to John and Yoko’ and ‘Lake of Fire’ even includes surf-rock riffs – totally unimaginable on their first album. On ‘Go Out on The Road’ they get back to what they do best - tinkling country songs about life travelling around the back-waters of the Deep South. Final cuts ‘Born To Win (part 1)’ and ‘Something’s Wrong’ have that lilting, austere beauty of their previous output with minimal instrumentation and just Alynda’s stunning vocals to focus your ears on.
Given how much I loved their previous work, I was actually a little disappointed with this new album -perhaps it was the progression into a full band that meant some of their previous tantalizing intimacy was lost. Maybe their new found ambition will grow on me after a few more listens.