“Don’t bore us; get to the chorus” is an age-old adage of pop songwriters, and it’s one that Syracuse-based Ra Ra Riot take to heart on their third album, Beta Love. Similar to fellow purveyors of preppy indie-pop, like Vampire Weekend and Los Campesinos!, Ra Ra Riot perfected the art of the earworm some time ago (see: “Too Dramatic” from 2010’s The Orchard). But here, their all-or-nothing approach to catchiness is both draining and somewhat unfulfilling. To be fair, the opening double-shot of “Dance With Me” and “Binary Mind” brings the party, with singer Wes Miles’s insistent falsetto effortlessly barrel-rolling above the beats, while the prog-lite grooves of “That Much” provide a noisy jam with some refreshingly organic interaction. Otherwise, the electro flirtations and borrowed melodies (“Beta Love” echoes The Supremes classic “Baby Love,” which is more annoying than endearing) amount to little more than a glossy package for a familiar sound. Still, as a beta version, Ra Ra Riot’s latest at least holds the promise of future improvement.
Playlist picks “That Much,” “Binary Mind”