KSUA 91.5 Notes: Beta Love and Centralia reviewed
Brady Gross/Sun Star Columnist
Ra Ra Riot really didn’t make any musical advances on last year’s release, The Orchard,
and Beta Love is the same story, but with a different type of misstep. Here we see two potentially great singles, and nine other tracks that just scream blah. What used to be a tight-knit orchestral pop outfit, has now lazily mingled their way into attempting a sound that falls flat. Sliming the band, adding weird hip-hop bass beats (Track seven AND eight, come on really?), and Police-esque infatuation is not working, plain and simple.
Essential Tracks: “Beta Love” and “That Much”
Ambient experimentalists, Mountains, has
formed an hour’s worth of compositional foreplay. Swaths of cello, guitar and piano swarm your senses in the most distinct moments while still allowing major swallowing synths in to wash away your concentration. ‘Propeller’ the centerpiece of Centralia engulfs you with overlapping tremolos that makes the track ‘feel’ four minutes long instead of the actual 20 that just mentally restrained you.
Centralia ultimately succeeds as a tangible force because it so meticulously handles space and cohesion as if the composers are performing melodic alchemy before your eyes. Centralia is an expansive and massive overture to consume, but this duo from Brooklyn also distinctly borders songs with smooth instrumental segues and drawn lines between transitions not realized until it’s already happening. Mountains feels stronger and more collected as they handle ambition and limitlessness within one construct that justly mirrors the landform they’re named after.
Essential Tracks: “Circular C,” “Sand
” and “Propeller”