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Tuesday
Apr252017

HURRAY FOR THE RIFF RAFF - The Navigator

"On their sixth album, Hurray for the Riff Raff have come full circle, ending up where the band’s songwriter, Alynda Segarra, started off. If that sounds like a lacklustre plug for one of the albums of the year, it really shouldn’t be. The Navigator represents a return from years of wandering – or, as Segarra puts it: “I’ve been a hungry ghost,” referencing the far eastern myth of the restless spirit for whom food offerings are left out. The Navigator is billed as a concept album about an alter ego called Navita, but the teenage punk Segarra ran away from the Bronx, New York to ride in boxcars, busking roots music. She lost friends to this high-risk life, eventually creating a community of like-minded musicians in New Orleans. This lineup of Hurray for the Riff Raff reimagined Americana (more feminist, more inclusive) with a pair of wonderful albums – 2012’s Look Out Mama and 2014’s Small Town Heroes – before Segarra moved on, again.

Beautifully produced by Paul Butler and played by a new line-up that features the eloquent guitar of Jordan Hyde and fluid rhythms of drummer Greg Rogove, this is a fusion album that wears its border-busting chops very lightly indeed. Album highlight Nothing’s Gonna Change That Girl is a country love song that gradually eases into more aromatic polyrhythms. Entrance, meanwhile, opens the album with a doo-wop group singing a gospel tune. Its most political moment, the stark Pa’lante, has an unexpected middle eight that’s pure Beatles. There’s not a lot you can’t sing along to, whoever you are." The Guardian

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