The Orchard - Ra Ra Riot
Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. Ra Ra Riot is still speaking a language everyone can understand: Love. And on The Orchard, Ra Ra Riot has never spoken so clearly.
  2. The set may not feel as catchy as Ra Ra Riot's well-received debut, but fans should appreciate the band's musical growth.
  3. The Orchard is a significantly more melancholy collection of songs. But melancholy seems to suit Ra Ra Riot, especially since they don't get too caught up in its gloom. [Sep 2010, p.113]
  4. The Orchard is no less sweet or sentimental than its predecessor, but it's a stronger, more complete record.
  5. The follow-up to Ra Ra Riot's well-received debut album opens with a slow-moving reminder that this romantic indie-styled Syracuse sextet love their violins and cellos.
  6. Everything a sophomore effort should be.
  7. 80
    Start at the beginning and let it play all the way through: The Orchard gives us an achingly mature version of a band yet to fail.
  8. Fans of The Rhumb Line are unlikely to go head over heels for The Orchard, but Ra Ra Riot's latest is still among the most clever and thoughtful indie pop heard this year.
  9. The Orchard cracks open a window to dreamy possibilities.
  10. Packed with mid-tempo ballads, The Orchard is largely unfocused, with foppish orchestration wandering aimlessly behind half-baked riffs, baroque in the most boring sense.
  11. May 3, 2011
    70
    Syracuse art-poppers need to let their instincts do the thinking.
  12. Ra Ra Riot's focus on overall listenability may have produced an album lacking some of the excitement found on their first record. While The Orchard is certainly a pretty record, it's not always the most thrilling.
  13. Though hardly a radical departure from the baroque-pop template set by that debut, The Orchard is more mannered, fussy, and prim than its predecessor, exact and instrumentally articulate in ways that evoke no one more than Ms. Bush.
  14. The Orchard is the sound of Ra Ra Riot hitting for the middle, delivering 10 tracks of deliberate orchestral-tinged indie-pop that'll hit you in your 2007-era blog-rock pleasure center.
  15. May 10, 2011
    60
    Stopping short of outright pop and heading in a direction that has yet to fully materialise, let's hope things eventually progress for Ra Ra Riot as well as they started.
  16. The Orchard doesn't go down as easily as The Rhumb Line did, even though it still has some satisfying moments.
  17. With dubby beats, choral vocals and signature strings, it's the most haunted song on the group's second LP, a set of genteel indie pop swinging between Dirty Projectors' ornate chamber music and the prep-school dance party of Vampire Weekend.
  18. 60
    Here, they deliver the sort of mid-tempo, orch-pop fussiness that they'd been praised for transcending.
  19. Despite the catchy moments, The Orchard is not a distinctive record. In fact, aside from showcasing Duquette's inventive, propulsive drum work, the only chance the album takes is that it doesn't really take any chances.
  20. Ra Ra Riot sound overly self-conscious, the rural environs of their recording space failing to provide the warmth, empathy, or exuberance of The Rhumb Line.
  21. May 18, 2011
    50
    [Cellist Alexandra Lawn's] expressive and engaging vocal contribution on You And I Know--along with its woozy, waltzy rhythms and shoegazey guitars--make this the only truly memorable song to be found on this otherwise disappointingly, frustratingly ephemeral collection.
  22. The Orchard has one virulently catchy song, "Too Dramatic." Too much of the album, however, is immediately forgotten, an issue the band didn't encounter on their excellent The Rhumb Line.
  23. Jun 20, 2011
    40
    Disappointing return from orchestral indie types. [July 2011, p. 117]
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 9 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Aug 25, 2010
    10
    What an amazing album. A more 80's inspired sound base then their debut, The Rhumb Line, but with results just the same. Go get this album, definitely worth it. Full Review »