Last Week’s Albums: French Montana, Ra Ra Riot

French Montana – Wave Gods

The about French Montana is he’s great as a feature artist on other people’s tracks, but never quite captures that brilliance on his own releases. Latest mixtape Wave Gods is no different, with Montana showing glimpses of his talent while being overshadowed by his high profile guests.

Hosted by Max B (who Montana had to educate Kanye West about), Wave Gods finds Montana channelling the Cokeboy persona he’s made his own over a variety of beats from some of the games biggest producers (Harry Fraud, Metro Boomin, Southside, London On Da Track).

Montana relies on his rap cohorts to flesh out his sound and Wave Gods is no different. Puffy and Jadakiss sleepwalk their way through Old Man Wildin, Future does Future on Miley Cyrus and Metro Boomin and Southside cook up the banger Man Of The City, with Traiv$ Scott and Big Sean adding touch of class with a verse each. The tapes clear highlight is Figure It Out, were Montana is joined by Kanye and Nas on a track about failing relationships. Of the three solo Montana cuts, it’s the trappy Holy Moly were he shines rapping about his extravagant lifestyle.

Verdict: There’s enough here to excite, but overall this is another good but not great release from the so called “King Of Mixtapes.”

Ra Ra Riot – Need Your Light

Ra Ra Riot’s have never been able to find the magic formula that floored me on their seminal debut, The Rhumb Line, but fourth release Need Your Light might be the closest they’ve come yet.

Taking influence from Vampire Weekend, The Shins and similar early 00’s acts, the New Yorker’s indie-meets-orchestral pop sound is in spades on this record. Instant Breakup recalls the frenetic percussion of The Rhumb Line cut Dying Is Fine, there’re handclaps a plenty on Every Time I’m Ready To Hug while the organ is prevalent on the Arcade Fire-like Foreign Lovers and album closer Suckers.

While Need Your Light does trigger memories of nostalgia, the use of synths and pop melodies is very now, particularly the soaring Absolutely and Bouncy Castle, giving a rounded shape to the band’s soundscapes.

Verdict: A return to form for one of New York’s most underrated indie acts.

Image: BET