The RA-6600 – Indiana Lights – EP Review
What IS it about this band? Why do The RA-6600 seem to always sucker me right into their pop-infused melodies like I can’t help myself otherwise?
Let me give you an example, the opening tune/title-track “Indiana Lights” for instance. I’m sitting here, trying to figure out what’s driving me nuts and why I’m not instantly into a band I know to be reliable for great music as I’m listening to the first song from the new EP from The RA-6600 – and then as if on cue, I read the best summarization of what I was feeling right there in front of me: ‘This one rocks in that poppy way The Clash might.’ I hate The Clash…always have.
So…fearing the worst…I thought this new record might go on to stay in that particular rapid-pace pop-writing…and I didn’t personally think that “Indiana Lights” was going to even make an impact on me at first. While I’m still not a huge fan of the verse…I can certainly admit to the chorus working wonders to keep this song alive. The second-half of it specifically…I really thought the chord-progression saved this song and brought sincere melody to it that I could grab onto. It’s already better than The Clash to me – by a-million-to-one – and coming back to this record days in a row had me digging “Indiana Lights” more and more as I played it.
I kind of had similar feelings towards the verse of “Hammerhead” – though I thought the sound was heading a little more back towards The RA-6600’s Beatles influence, which I like more personally. Once again though – the chorus writing absolutely saves the song completely and The RA-6600 100% nail this one beautifully. LOVED the energy in this melody and it really sounds like the vocals find their enthusiasm, passion and a great fit into the wild, untamed singing that the writing calls for. It’s got that Weezer-esque playfulness to it…and I love that dimension of The RA-6600 – “Hammerhead” approved – big time. That chorus just fills the room with gorgeous, undeniable energy and FUN!
While “Walk Into The Air” might be and might sound a little more melancholy overall – to me, this was where The RA-6600 really caught my interest in what I felt like was the most complete idea on the EP to this point so far. From point-A to point-B – I thought this was an exceptional mid-tempo ballad with a ton of character in the atmosphere; “Walk Into The Air” is ambitious in its design…nearly like a Queen song in a sense, but written with a Beatles-esque idea in mind. I really appreciate the large-scale ambitions in The RA-6600…for some reason, this band strikes me as such an innocent sound, yet one that is capable of so, so much. Ideas like “Walk Into The Air” and its passionate execution transcend just being a good song – moments like this are a true experience that genuinely makes impressive impact. Or at least it did on me – I loved this song.
“Out Till All Hours” also shone a brilliant light on the innate ability to create melodies that really connect – a signature part of the writing in The RA-6600 that’s a factor in every song they write. Presented in a lo-fi & indie-style that really captures the solid magic this band has – I’m a fan of both the music and production of this record. I think songs like “Out Till All Hours” really highlight that raw & realness in the melodies The RA-6600 writes though…and in general I think they really do a great job when it comes to their slower-paced songs. They allow The RA-6600 to really draw out ALL the beauty in the indie-pop melodies they write – and vocals like the falsetto parts in “Out Till All Hours” are absolutely perfect moments in time you really want to continue to live in.
I think you’ll hear what I mean though when I say the wild-abandon of “I’ll Be There For You” is pretty damn catchy. Kind of the perfect amount of pure pop-melody that can be harnessed and contained in just-outside of two-minutes really! When the vocals drop into the lower-register just prior to the brightness of the way The RA-6600 sweetens their chorus, it adds an absolutely fantastic contrast that works 100% and is SO ADDICTIVE to listen to! For real though – the keyboard, drums and bass combination starts movin’ and groovin’ instantly and never stops the warm, inviting energy that drives the heart of this track. Lyrically as sweet as the beautiful rhythm & groove “I’ll Be There For You” has – this track actually took me a little by surprise. I loved it fairly instantly…but as I repeated the experience, I kept coming back to the notion that this is really one of the finest tracks I’ve heard from The RA-6600, and just how incredibly strong the middle of this record really is through its stunning ideas.
What I really like about The RA-6600 is that there really isn’t a lot out there like them right now – and I think there’s an amazingly valid place in music for melodies that are written like this band writes’em. It’s nothing short of amazing to me that they can work in such strength in the writing and just how often The RA-6600 turn simple into stunning. Listen to the final track “Running Away” for an example of what I mean…nothing is over-complicated here…every idea from the music to the vocals gets a real chance to live, expand and truly breathe. The piano-melody is delicate…and all of a sudden, The RA-6600 decides to pull a Macklemore move and tackles the opening verse with what would just be short of hip-hop/spoken word were it not for the hint of melody that comes into the vocals. It grabs the attention though – and especially with its pronounced departure from what else we’ve heard so far – but those common threads still exist wonderfully and keep this final song completely cohesive to the rest of the EP…LISTEN to that chorus will ya? That’s signature RA right there is what that is…and it sounds awesome.
I maintain…this is a band that really has a lot to offer the ears…one with a real ability to combine sincerity, believability and honesty into the melodies they write. I’m a big fan of The RA-6600 – once again they’ve proven that every song on their records can truly offer something special and have many unforgettable ideas that highlight their sweeter-than-candy songwriting on the Indiana Lights EP. They sucker me into this syrupy-sweet melodies quickly; but I’m no sucker at all really – these are just damn good songs.
Find out more from their official page at the Hembot Records label here: http://hembot.com/TheRA-6600/
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