WORDS: ANDY HAYWARD
Louisiana collective Hurray For The Riff Raff released their self-titled third album on 21st March 2011. Beginning in May, the band will be taking in the sights of the British Isles as part of their UK pre-summer tour. creaturemag takes a look at what this New Orleans three-piece have in store for their UK audience as they perform tracks taken from their new album…
The band’s lead singer and songwriter is Alynda Lee Segarra, a former member of tramp-band The Dead Man Street Orchestra. Segarra fell in with the collective after leaving home at the tender age of 17, and travelling around America on the freight trains. There’s a definate cross-over of Segerra’s “university of life” experience which extends to her lyrics;“Too much of a good thing can make you feel numb, You’ll always go crazy…” she sings and you get the feeling she’s speaking from experience, she’s seen it happen.
In parts this album is reminiscent of Laura Marling’s Alas I Cannot Swim. Comparisons can be made between the songstresses’ confessional, breathily- almost spoken- uttered refrains. The switch from retraint to flambuoyant gusto on other parts of the album suggests part of the narrative is being held back in places, a secret of which we’re aware but not privy to… Although frustrating to some, it just seems to give a hazy quality to the music and we love a bit of haze here at Creaturemag…
Like Marling and her sporting use of brass and mouth organ, Hurray for the Riff Raff likewise employ a variety of metallic sounding instruments to bring depth to their brand of folk. Adding a polite contrast to some of the more stripped back tracks such as; ‘Meet Me In The Morning’ and ‘Daniella’, the tracks feel more fleshed out and mature.
In shortHurray For The Riff Raff gives much to the listener; you feel happy, sad, confused and sympathetic, sometimes all in the same song. It’s a shame that the only downside is that the backbone of the album is taken from largely from their sophomore album, Young Blood Blues. Hurray for the Rif Raff is more a collection of Alynda Lee Segarra’s favourite tracks than a new album in its own right. Whilst there’s a clear indication on the freshly recorded tracks of the new maturity in Segarra’s vocals which gives the album a fresher, less stale sound, it probably doesn’t compensate for the almost total overlap between records. Long-time listeners of Hurray For The Riff Raff might feel slightly cheated by a supposed “new” album which in fact is more accurately a continuation or reworking of their previous releases.
But even with the albums blurring into one, we can’t help but look forward to album number four, should it be new material of course..
Hurray For The Riff Raff was released on 21 March 2011. Hurray For The Riff Raff are touring all over the U.K throughout May, starting at The Windmill in Brixton on 19 May 2011 and finishing at Evolution Festival in Newcastle on 29 May 2011.
Rating: 3.5/5 What it lacks in originality it makes up for in gusto.
Best Tracks: Junebug Waltz, Young Blood Blues, Too Much Of A Good Thing
Sounds Like: Laura Marling, Emmy The Great, First Aid Kit