• Record Label: Barsuk
  • Release Date: Aug 19, 2008

Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  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. 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.
  6. The upstate New York quintet's assured performances act as a suitable memorial [to Pike]. [22/29 Aug 2008, p.122]
  7. Alternative Press
    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 ship does not capsize; The Rhumb Line instead drops anchor as a solid debut that beckons refinement and experimentation further down its course.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. The album holds together, not only as a memorial to past tragedy but also as a testament to whatever emotional terrain lies ahead.
  14. Filter
    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]
  15. 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.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 19 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 19
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 19
  3. Negative: 1 out of 19
  1. AndrewN.
    Aug 20, 2008
    Easily one of the year's best, though i think the music critics don't know quite what to do with it. production is excellent.