New Riot – Raising The Stakes

Five golden tracks that live up to the band’s burgeoning reputation…

Rating: 8.5/10

Ooh, it’s a mighty fine EP, this. It’s so good, I didn’t even mind drumming along on a coffee shop table, even if doing so made me look like a bit of a dick.

As teaser Live Fast, Die Young suggested, this isn’t a ska-punk record. Sure, it’s got the references in place to keep the old-school fans in check, but the band has upped their game this time around. With a sound that transcends genres, even millennia, New Riot have put out an EP that makes you never want to grow up.

Within five brief songs, they have elevated themselves from a band surviving on raw talent and good timing, to one that will be going toe-to-toe with the likes of Less Than Jake in no time. The LTJ comparison is a poignant one– much like their Floridian elders, New Riot aren’t content to let upstrokes and power chords do the talking. Instead they’re rolling out brassy and refined ska-pop-punk anthems.

As was bound to happen eventually, the frantic free-for-alls chronicled by their earlier releases seem to have died down. Instead, they’ve been replaced by a set of more reflective themes and lyrics, which, if you believe their social media posts, New Riot are immensely proud of. As they deserve to be.

Raising The Stakes is probably as close to mature as a ska-based band can come. It’s grown up in all the right places, while still clinging to the band’s “party” image. By my reckoning, it’s on its 12th repeat cycle now, and I’m nowhere near done with it…


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