Riot is expertly arranged, opening with a freight train of horn blasts on the rallying "Wait" (featuring Henzie-Skogen shouting, "March! March! March!"). Yet almost instantly the mood mellows with the reggae-tinged "Waiver." And then there's "Pala Minima," which encompasses both the jubilant and the contemplative. Careful listens to Riot also yield traces of Dixieland and other traditional roots music, but songs like "Nuclear Summer" and "But You Can't Run" are assaults to the senses that are purely modern. The band is clearly informed by hip hop's pastiche of styles, and Youngblood has been embraced by top international talents such as Talib Kweli, Mike Ladd, and DJ Vadim.
Youngblood's wildfire arrangements for sax, sousaphone, trombone, trumpet, bass drums, and snares are so meticulously crafted that it landed a deal to publish original sheet music, which has already been adapted by top-notch players, including the USC marching band. Looks like band camp pays off after all.