Though Rah Rah
burrows roots into the plains of Regina, Saskatchewan, these frontiersmen and women recently blew through Brooklyn like some liberated tumbleweed, picking up rough and tumble country romps and rambunctious indie rock anthems as the cold, northern winds pushed them along. Actually, most of the songs performed here stem from the band's very fine third album, The Poet's Dead
. In person they're a whole lot of band to behold; sequins, bolo ties, balloons, confetti cannons, stuffed animals, and six members who all seem to know their way around each other's instruments. It's a spectacle, I tell you! But for Rah Rah, I suspect it all comes back to those roots we mentioned earlier. Songs like "Art & A Wife," "20s," and "Prairie Girl" all touch on the band's vows to never abandon their home and their creativity while navigating the challenges of growing up. The road is obviously a lot of fun, but possibly not an ideal. So we're ecstatic the band decided to come to Brooklyn, knowing full well this tumbleweed will always be anxious to make its way back home.
Autumn 2012* sees the release of The Poet's Dead, the third and most accomplished album to date by Regina, SK sextet Rah Rah. Building on the strong foundation of their last release, the critically acclaimed and iTunes Canada championed Breaking Hearts, this new ten song effort effectively captures a band at the peak of their abilities doing what they do best.
The Poet's Dead, recorded in late 2011 under the production guidance of indie-rock recording geniuses Gus Van Go and Werner F (The Stills, Hollerado, Priestess), clearly displays that Rah Rah has truly fine-tuned the essence of the band and refined the maturity of their sound.
"Recording with Gus and Werner was one of the most rewarding challenges I've ever been a part of," says band member Erin Passmore. "They understood how and when exactly to push us and I'm so proud of what we've been able to create with their help and guidance."
Lyrically, The Poet's Dead showcases some of their finest, most direct songwriting yet and is their strongest collective step forward. From the self-reflections of "20s", "Prairie Girl" and the album's title track to the wistful hope of "First Kiss" and the twisted anything-for-love paean "Im A Killer", the songs discuss maturity, growing up and life in a rock and roll band from a group that have spent much of the past few years doing exactly that. These are songs handcrafted to make you think, to create dreams and to break your heart.
Rah Rah formed as a trio in 2007, originally created by Erin Passmore (vocals, drums, keys, guitar) and Marshall Burns (vocals, guitar). By 2008 they had been joined by Kristina Hedlund (violin, keys, accordion, vocals) and Erin's brother Joel Passmore (formerly of Despistado and Sylvie) on bass. Later that year another former Despistado member Leif Thorseth (guitar) also joined the band. The band is rounded out by its newest member, Jeff Romanyk (drums, keys, guitar).
The members of Rah Rah share a collective mentality, taking turns taking the lead, both in songwriting and while on stage. The melodic male/female vocals and shared instrumentation traded off seamlessly (Erin Passmore and Jeff Romanyk both play drums, keyboards and guitar, while Kristina Hedlund plays violin, keyboards and accordion), plus a true level of fun throughout ensures that a Rah Rah show will not disappoint.
"The members did a lot of instrument switching and almost everyone in the band sang lead on at least one song," writes Andrew Sacher of Brooklyn Vegan in a recent live review. "And just in case their catchy songs weren't enough, their stage antics are sure to be remembered, which included throwing "R" "A" & "H" balloon letters into the audience, shooting out confetti, and breaking open a piata at the end of their last song."
Rah Rah was crowned "Best New Canadian Band" and "Best New Alternative Band" by iTunes Canada in 2009. The band's songs have also been featured as iTunes Single of the Week and Starbucks Pick of the Week in Canada. The band has toured incessantly behind their previous two albums, sharing tours with the likes of Minus The Bear in Canada and USA, Wintersleep in Europe and Canada, and label-mates Said The Whale. Expect the band to continue touring heavily in support of The Poet's Dead.