Friday, April 29, 2011

Review: Ravishers “Ravishers”

Indie rock
Portland, Oregon's indie-pop outfit Ravishers release their self-titled full length debut on May 10 on Timber Carnival Records. Three years in the making, “Ravishers” is a follow up to the EP, "Singles for Singles", and some of the EP tunes have been tweaked for this LP.

Songwriter/frontman Dominic Castillo has a voice that is warm and lucid, quite soothing over the sparse arrangements consisting largely of crisp piano and/or tasty lead guitar supplied by Jonathan Barker (a jazz musician turned rock guitarist). Despite the deceptively slacker-styled arrangements, there is a great deal of admirable craftsmanship in these tunes in both the lyrics and music. When asked to sum up Ravishers, Castillo is quick to joke, "Fine purveyors of hand crafted songs." He's happy to elaborate, too. "Seriously, what we try to do is a great song. We're still naive enough to think that rock songs matter, in some way. For us that usually means a thoughtful arrangement that has some harmonic complexity and a touch of wit, along with the message of the lyrics. Also, there's a distillation process that's been happening over the course of the album. The more you make music, the more your musical personality hopefully concentrates. I like the idea of just becoming more of what you are artistically. Hopefully Ravishers shows that."

While some may not grab your ears right away, I advise you to exercise a little patience: the hooks are anchored there and make their way to the surface by the end of the song. The best examples you should explore include “I’m Him”, “The Chase”, “Cruel Love”, and “Keep You Around”. Fans of The Shins, Spoon, Fleet Foxes, and similar indie pop/rock bands, you need to check out Ravishers.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 3, 4, 5, 7

Ravishers on MySpace. Official site.

Check out the music video for Ravishers' first single, "Underachievers." The concept behind the music video is simple - a day in the life of Ravishers' guitarist, Jonathan Barker.

Ravishers - 'Underachievers'

Ravishers | Myspace Music Videos