The Rhumb Line - Ra Ra Riot

Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. The upstate New York quintet's assured performances act as a suitable memorial [to Pike]. [22/29 Aug 2008, p.122]
  2. 90
    With lyrics appropriated from an e.e. cummings poem of the same name ["Dying is Fine"] contrasting with bouncy guitar riffs, the creation feels fresh; the past, unforgetable. [Summer 2008, p.91]
  3. You won’t hear anything on The Rhumb Line you haven’t heard before, but that doesn’t prevent it from being one of the year’s best debuts.
  4. Loss flows through The Rhumb Line's veins, ineffable but vital. Someday I'm sure I'll turn to this record for consolation, and for that I'm both sad and grateful.
  5. Ra Ra Riot sound elated to have finally arrived at this point: the release of their debut, the payoff after a very tough year, and the proof that they're one of 2008's most promising newcomers.
  6. Part of what makes The Rhumb Line so engaging is that it's ultimately life-affirming: It's not only a requiem for a lost friend, it's a tribute to the ones who stuck around through the worst times.
  7. There's something simple and true about The Rhumb Line--and Ra Ra Riot--that draws you back to both again and again. [Sep 2008, p.150]
  8. The album holds together, not only as a memorial to past tragedy but also as a testament to whatever emotional terrain lies ahead.
  9. The Rhumb Line--defined as a straight-shot line across all meridians, for the geospatially uninitiated--mostly just thrums with an uncommon sort of pop radiance.
  10. Ra Ra Riot persevered (and recently added West Hartford drummer Gabriel Duquette to the lineup), recording a full-length debut by turns soulful and super-catchy.
  11. It's rare for a band to survive the death of a key member, but Ra Ra Riot are actually thriving, turning The Rhumb Line from a potential "what could've been" record into a rousing, poignant testament to Pike's life and his former bandmates' resilience.
  12. The ship does not capsize; The Rhumb Line instead drops anchor as a solid debut that beckons refinement and experimentation further down its course.
  13. The Rhumb Line is at times moody and downtrodden, but it's Ra Ra Riot's ability to pull out of those situations that saves the album.
  14. 70
    Anchored by four tracks from a previous EP that were re-recorded with the hooks highlighted, this nimble full-length wrings catharsis from pop with no lapses into pretension.
  15. Counting a violinist and cellist among their ranks, Ra Ra Riot has fashioned a gritty yet polished post-punk sound fit for a Sofia Coppola film.
  16. The Rhumb Line is a step in the right direction but still a few feet away from the type of anthemic songs I believe they have in them. [Fall 2008, p.84]
  17. 60
    Their combination of new wave rhythms, with such conspicuous use if strings is impressive, but it falls a little short of grandeur. [Oct 2008, p.105]
  18. This effervescent debut seems determined to shake off the tragedy. [Oct 2008, p.150]
  19. Rhumb Line gives the impression that mostly good things are ahead.
  20. While the first five songs on The Rhumb Line are uniformly strong, the album starts to lose its momentum just after cresting the halfway point.
  21. Mildness and friendliness help things flow along so nicely, in fact, that The Rhumb Line softens the impact of generally nuanced and energetic songwriting.

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