Band: The Ravishers
Hook Rating: 5 out of 5
Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5
By Aaron Binder
Anyone that is old enough to remember the 60’s…and not too stoned, will remember a day where the single defined popular music. Bands, vocalists and artists were expected to be hit machines, pumping out singles like overworked prostitutes, thrown out far belong their time should have ended. By the late 60’s this mantra was overcome by The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and a handful of other groups that found success in the album model, slowing down the process and giving those proverbial hookers new lives as dames. The singles trend found new popularity in the 90’s, but never piqued the same way it did in the earliest days of mass recording. Utilizing big hooks on just a couple songs off their albums, artists were able to find financial success but critical contempt.
Indie oriented rock has, for the most part, attempted to parlay away from that style and create individually crafted songs that stand on their own merit. There is a small contingent of indie style bands that is focusing on the poppier side of the genre and The Ravishers is one of them. With their first self-titled, full-length album, the band has crafted together a collection of songs that seem as independent as they are connected. From the first 20 seconds of the first song, you can tell by the way the bouncy piano chords interact with vocalist Dominic Castillo and the lo-fi stringed instruments that they draw as much influence from current music as they do the classics.
Lyrically the band keeps it simple, often 2-4 word choruses punctuate the overall theme of each song which tend to focus on simple rhymes and lines that engage listeners in the hookiest way possible. This is one area wherein the band excels, Castillo’s voice lulling from whispered line to whispered line before exploding into a high energy, bravado laden tenor.
The band sounds like they would have fit in perfectly during the single pumping era of the early 60’s; each song does create its own melody and hook, but when compared side by side there are few differences in the overall sound. While it can be hard at times to differentiate from one song to the next, there are a few standouts (Cruel Love, My Thoughts Are Killers, Nobody Falls In Love Anymore, Happening) that pack enough punch to knock down what amounts to filler otherwise. The band obviously has a wealth of talent but at this point their songwriting needs to be improved. It is great background noise and if they can focus on crafting their songs to the level that a standout like Cruel Love is, the Ravishers will be popping their way into hearts across the continent for decades to remember.