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Review: Ra - 'Raw'
Posted: 23 October 2006
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Purchase the album here through Amazon.com
Release Date: 24 October 2006 via Cement Shoes

Ra is:
Sahaj Ticotin
Ben Carroll (Guitar)
P.J. Farley (Bass)
Andy Ryan (Drums)

Overview: Ra burst onto the scene in 2002 with their debut 'From One', which went on to move over 200,000 copies and spawned the hits "Do You Call My Name?" and "Rectifier". The band released their sophomore effort, 'Duality' in June 2005, only to see weak label support lead to Ra's demise with Universal Records in early 2006. Ra hit the road for a string of headlining dates in March/April of this year, and recorded their set at The Machine Shop in Flint, Michigan for their live album. After inking a deal with upcoming Cement Shoes Records, Ra is finally back with 'Raw', a powerful look into the band's live performance. Ra also included their newest single, "Don't Turn Away", and the band can be seen on the Congress of Corruption tour with label mates Ill Nino and Godhead.

The Good: Ra is the masterpiece of its brainchild Sahaj Ticotin, and the passion put forth into each song the band crafts is evident throughout the entire set. "Fallen Angels" kicks in with a hypnotic introduction, which leads into the raw version of "Rectifier". The band is clearly in touch with their fans, always yearning for the crowd to chant back, sing along, and get wild. Ra also gives insight into each song, including the exaggerated definition of "I Lost Everything Today" as "so hard" and "Tell Me" as making the band feel "bigger". Andy Ryan is much more experimental with his drum work, which further embellishes Ra's live sound. The recording also captures vocal harmonizing and distinguishes every guitar chord. The studio track "Don't Turn Away" is powerfully melodic, with a chorus that will linger in your mind for days.

The Bad: Although 'Raw' is a spectacular introspect into a Ra show, the band will never be able to satisfy every fan with the choice of songs composing the set list. There is also more of a focus on tracks from 'From One' in comparison to 'Duality', which could leave many wondering which album exactly they were promoting. The introduction to "Fallen Angels" is marred with a few seconds of static and crackling sounds, although they are easily overlooked. Ra's new song "Don't Turn Away" is recorded in lower quality, diminishing the overall impact of the track.

Bottomline: For many fans, Ra's new live disc has all the right elements to satisfy and hold them over until Ra drops their new album 'Black Sun', slated for an early 2007 release. The band is able to bottle power, emotion, rawness, and melody in one live performance and still manages to stay heavily involved with their audience. Although the set was short and the inclusion of more tracks from 'Duality' would have ameliorated the album, 'Raw' only advances the repertoire of a band that has always stepped outside the box, managing to win over fans with each turn.

Rating: 8 out of 10

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