A recent review from the Anchorage Daily News:
The sounding of a gong opens The Riot's "Carry Us to the Sea." It is simple, open and empty.But from those tones straight to the album's final note, it's a helter-skelter ride.
Within the introductory piece alone, synthesized orchestration reminiscent of a movie soundtrack both religious and supremely frightening sets a tone. Chants join in, spooky and distant. Drums crash. Thin female voices add a top layer as the lower pitches drop and a single deep vibration carries the song to its finish.
Parts of "Carry Us to the Sea" -- the Anchorage band's first full-length album -- go haywire, buzz this way and that, bounce between speakers with no recognizable melody. Through it all, vocalist Laila O'Sullivan belts full of feeling, hits high notes and keeps up in volume and power with the smashing drums and guitar behind her. She exhibits technical prowess, warbling and stretching, floating into an ethereal vibrato-shaken upper range reminiscent of Fiona Apple.
The Riot's kaleidoscopic sound weaves into the surrealism and metaphor of O'Sullivan's smart lyrics. She intones on "Toast," one of the band's jazzier numbers: "Influenza bicycle races, / Paradigms and charades,/ Decaffeinated heartfelt sentences/ Drip from your tongue and/ Down your chin." On "This Ship," a beast of a song and a study in contrasts, she chants, "Soon we'll find out what we're here for," then yells it, and finally cuts off mid-sentence, giving way to a keyboard's lullaby, halfway between scary and sad.
In the best possible sense, this album has no standout musician or any standout tracks. Every song is fresh and creative, and all four members -- O'Sullivan, keyboardist John Swanson, drummer Evan Larrecou and guitarist Kenny Moss [now Brett Fraser] -- are tight and skilled and exploding with energy.
-- Lillie Dremeaux
Now, granted, Anchorage is a city not too large or well known for its music scene, but The Riot took over Anchorage's radio waves, tapping fingers, and dancing feet in just a few months. From their phenomenal local CD sales to their glowing reviews in the Daily News to their huge draw at shows--The Riot is a force to be reckoned with. Now they're determined to take over a town closer to you.