Ravens & Chimes: Reichenbach Falls

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Ravens & Chimes 

Written By:

Gavin Riley

30th May 2008
At 16:47 GMT

3 comment(s)

Arcade Fire comparisons come two a penny into our inbox these days, but when you get a group of multi-instrumentalists as good as Ravens & Chimes, it does make you sit up and notice.

The New York quintet's debut full-length 'Reichenbach Falls' is awash with many great moments. Opener 'This Is Where We Are' has the Arcade Fire Richter scale buckling, with the band honing their creative song structures into something strikingly melodic.

Yet the Arcade Fire comparisons can be tossed away with yesterday's jam, as the rest of the album focusses on a slightly less urgent and more down-tempo sound that engages further influences.

That is not in itself a bad thing, as it gives frontman Asher Lack a break and allows the rest of the band's instrumental talents rise to the surface. 

But it does mean there's a period of about three or four tracks that seem rather inconsistent. The glockenspiel is used copiously, and on 'Candles' the band engage in a rather bizarre 90 seconds of acoustic guitar balladry that never really gets off the ground.

However not long after, 'Reichenbach Falls' revives itself, and with the obvious references to New York City on tracks like 'General Lafayette! You Are Not Alone', and 'Eleventh Street', the band seem to engage their creative side again, this time lyrically.

On 'General Lafayette! You Are Not Alone', Lack sings rather cryptically, about how life in New York City has moved on: "I see you on the avenue still riding buses like a ghost... / Do you long for me / Ringing all your bells and burning down / Do you sleep all day /  Wondering if I'm ever gonna finally come around". With the energy back, and the lyrical intrigue placed firmly at the forefront, this is easily the best track on the album.

Yet the urgent, emotional edge of this album is taken off by finishing 'Reichenbach Falls' off with a glockenspiel solo that would seem nice if you were venturing into Disneyland for the first time.

The ingredients for Ravens & Chimes are all in place. They sound the part, look the part, and in places the music is full of bounteous richness that appeal to the indie-pop lover in all of us.

An encouraging debut, full of promise, but next time, lets leave the glockenspiel solos for Arcade Fire's Greatest Hits album.

Rating:  6 / 10

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