Hurray For The Riff Raff – The Navigator (ATO Records)

Genre – Country rock /  folk blues

Hurray For The Riff Raff’s Alynda Segarra sums up the natural path punk musicians and fans find themselves walking – the progression of punk to country.

The Navigator is a political concept album produced by Paul Butler, and inspired by Alynda Segarra’s own journey from the South Bronx to the downtown punk scene and beyond, in search of her identity. While the concept of this album may be rooted in politics, it’s dripping in southern country rock at the same time, and that’s what makes Hurray For The Riff Raff a fascinating country rock band.

Hurray To The Riff Raff sing about everything you’d expect from a country rock band – God (Entrance), love and politics, in an interwoven, cinematic story of a wandering soul at a crossroads of identity and ancestral weight.

It finds a street kid named Navita traversing a perpetually burning city in search of herself. The Navigator is a thrilling call to arms that could not come at a more crucial time. It also finds Hurray For The Riff Raff at its own musical intersection, delving deep into the worlds of Latin rhythms, searing rock, and incisive ballads.

With the inclusion of du-wop singers, percussionists and a trio of Bomba drummers – which feature heavily on the beautifully intricate Nothing’s Going To Change That Girl, Hurray For The Riff Raff have created an album that is filled with nuances and delectable sounds that make this much more than a straight up country rock album.

The Navigator’s title track goes completely against the grain of the album. It’s a soulful Spanish style number awash with percussion that would be more fitting of Carlos Sanata than a young girl from Louisiana.

The appropriately name mid album track, Halfway There, sees Alynda Segarra take a solo approach. With delicate finger picking and harmonised vocals, Segarra tells us that singing a song and saying a prayer only ever takes you halfway there. This slow number is perfectly placed as Rican Beach one again resumes the Latin experiment that makes for a country rock / salsa tune, filled with blues guitar.

The Navigator is a remarkable album. It’s one that sounds like a country rock album at first. Then, on second listen, the sound of the blues appears. Then the Spanish sounds. With each listen reveals a different nuance, and the lyrical content becomes more apparent. This album is both light hearted and a subtle in your face political rant, that you can only get to the heart of with plenty of spins.

RUSHONROCK RATED – 8/10 I just want to prove my worth on the planet each and be something!