26 September 2023

Life On Earth

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Reviewed by Ian Phillips.

By Hurray For The Riff Raff, Nonesuch Records 2022.

Hurray For The Riff Raff is a rock band from New Orleans, Louisiana, with Alynda Segarra the front person and songwriter.

Life On Earth is their eighth and latest album.

The album was recorded during the pandemic and the songs explore the theme of survival in a world in flux. Not just survival but finding a way to thrive through it.

Segarra said that she drew inspiration from The Clash, Beverly Glenn-Copeland, Bad Bunny, and Adrienne Maree Brown, the author of Emergent Strategy, in writing the songs.

The intelligent use of space is a hallmark of the album; many songs, including the title track, are sparse placing the emphasis squarely on the message contained within the lyrics.

Life On Earth asks us to ponder a future where climate change has threatened all the things we love and hold dear.

It’s a slow ballad that is melancholy but ends by hoping that “life on Earth is long”.

The album has already received critical acclaim with many critics placing it in the ‘Most Anticipated Records of 2022’ list.

Mainstream media includingThe Guardian, The Observer, The Wall Street Journal, The Evening Times, and The Irish Times have all praised it.

The Guardian said, “What’s so impressive about Life On Earth is the way Segarra metabolises bleak and disturbing subjects into songs that brim with hope, beauty and cheer.”

The Observer noted “Hurray For The Riff Raff promises a manual for Life On Earth, a ‘nature punk’ album for tough times.”

Hurray For The Riff Raff set out to produce an album that offered us a way forward when confronted by the seemingly overwhelming issues ahead of us.

They may not be able to save the world but at least they’ve raised their voices to protest at apathy and intransigence.

Life On Earth is an album that tries to shake us awake, but in a tender and compassionate way.

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