Produced by: Timber Carnival Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
When asked to sum up just who the Ravishers are, writer and frontman Dominic Castillo says that they are: “Fine purveyors of hand crafted songs…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.” The Ravishers are an indie-pop band based out of Portland, Oregon. They consist of Dominic Castillo and lead guitarist Jonathan Barker with an assortment of guest musicians. Their new self-titled album was three years in the making, a follow-up to their successful EP entitled Singles for Singles.
The band’s sound has a bit of a punk attitude reminiscent of bands like The Cure, Depeche Mode and The Clash. The Ravishers’ album starts off strong with I’m Him, a tale of the person behind the mask of who you are dating. When you date someone, how do you really know who they are behind the persona they allow you to see? In this song, a man attempts to reveal himself to the woman he loves. This is followed by You Have It, almost a continuation of the first song, letting his lover know that she can stop searching for all the things she yearns for - she has it all in him. Of course, just when you think this album is going to be all about love, you get hit with the song The Chase (Is My Favorite Part) about an individual who has no real concept in love. He’s all about chasing after the girl, but never about commitment.
Some albums get stale after the first couple of songs, but Ravishers is not one of those albums. I enjoyed just about every track, laughing at the lyrics of the love song caught in the latter throws of a relationship entitled Keep You Around: “I wish I could toss you off the back of this train / There's so much that I'd like to change / But when you're gone I miss your frown / I guess that I'll keep you around.” The album finishes strong with a couple more love songs in Nobody Falls in Love Anymore and Happening. Out of the two, I believe Nobody Falls in Love Anymore is my favorite - the wistful way the singer describes how people are so busy with their lives that they barely have time for love. A telling track in my opinion,
The music in each track is amazingly professional, sounding as if the band was filled with seasoned performers who had been together for decades rather than just a few years. The pianos solos and guitar riffs are awe inspiring. The percussions are terrific, with the drummer supplying just the right beat for each track. I particularly enjoyed the hand clapping, drumstick clacking and finger snapping present in certain songs - stuff that makes the songs unique. I was surprised at the soul/jazz playing trumpet on Nobody Falls in Love Anymore, but as I listened to the warbling, I realized it fit perfectly. After all, the song is discussing how love is something in the past, in a bygone time much like the time in which this particular trumpet’s song would be heard.
The Ravisher’s self-titled album is a terrific debut album for the band. I can imagine hearing any one of these songs as background tracks for shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Parenthood or Bones. Mainstream radio definitely needs to get a taste of this new album! I want to hear Ravishers tracks playing on mainstream radio stations on the East Coast! In my opinion, with well-thought out and catchy lyrics, great beats, guitars and unique twists on percussion, the band known as the Ravishers deserves notice. This is a band whose future definitely looks bright to me!