A track by track review of "In the Grace of Your Love" by The Rapture.
This reviews a little late. Sorry but I was watching several documentaries about dinosaurs so as a wise ninja turtle once said "gimme a break". Anywho, for those of you that are already aware of The Rapture, well done you, let's be friends, but for the uninitiated they are an electro-dance-punk act on the major electro-dance-punk label DFA Records, home to the now defunct LCD Soundsystem (lest we forget), Hotchip and a bunch of others. Even if you don't already know and love the rapture you've definitely heard at least one of their tracks if you've been to any self respecting (or self loathing; it's hard to tell with indie kids these days) indie based night. Namely, the cowbell noise music monster "House of Jealous Lovers". Followed the link? Remember what I'm on about? Good. Anyway their latest album is a tad different from that. It's their fourth so far and these guys are no longer just concerned with just making you dance so hard you spill your cheap drink on whatever topman garments your clad in, they have pop music in their sights.
1. Sail Awa
The opening track kicks off with Luke Jenner's pained and strained vocal with "Sail away!" ascending into the track. Accompanied by a joyous little synth melody and a jangly drum beat, this song almost writes itself. It instantly feels familiar. Until the extended psychedelic outro, at which point it feels like a close friend telling you he's the pope unexpectedly. It's unusual and out of the ordinary but you still can't help but love the chap.
Sex Bass! Thats right this track has sexy bass kicking it off. On first listening it the lyrics sound hammy, almost a parody, but by the chorus you realised that once again these guys are trying to make a classic sing along pop extraganza. Expect to try and clap along to the clapping in the track and fail. Moments to look out for: The snare drum kick after the bridge. Saucy.
The most "indie" track on the album. Buzzing guitars with up tap tap tappah tappah drums pierced by falcetto vocals. The chorus a pretty chant with wailing guitar solos. The most inoffensive track but also the most boring it's pleasant enough but feels somewhat like filler.
4.Come Back to Me
A gypsy exploration. The distant vocals carry what is essentially a simple enough dance track until the hypnotic chorus of " Are we all children". At which point you have to start paying more attention. "I welcome you back into my heart, my spirit, my nourishing spirit" starts to sound increasingly sinister. Like a seductive circus that you don't realise is filled with sexual deviants and people who like the musical stylings of Katy Perry. The reprise is a heavy step in this direction (not towards Katy Perry thank God, towards the dark.). A white noise background, then more synth. Cut. Funky drums. The reprise is remix fuel and harks back to "Echoes" with its sinister feel.
5.In The Grace of Your Love
Title track time! A lumbering track with plodding synth and art-school sharp guitar. "In the grace of you love" acting as a prefix to every other lyric, this is another attempt to write a pop song with none pop music. It's not long before you find yourself bopping (you kids still bop right?) to the funk. That's just before another creepy reprise. This album is about love, but a creepy love-is–terrifying type of way.
6.Never Die Again
Alright. On a album listen you'll probably listen as you'll be too engrossed by previous tracks. On an iTunes shuffle it might get a skip. Pretty much run of the mill Rapture, five to five on a Friday afternoon, let's get bash this track out and get to the pub type affair. Saying that it is funky and does have quite a looming a deep ending.
7. Roller Coaster
Welcome back to the carnival of dance-punk. The title lyrics wash over you like a cultish chant. The rolling drums and singing guitars create a sense of bitter sweet summer afternoons with lyrics telling the story of a roller-coaster relationship that's on the rocks. This track is warm yellows, orange and gold with summer sun glare spilling over a BBQ that's about to end.
And the award for track mostly to appear on an advert promoting some shit movie channel in the spring goes to.... That's not entirely a bad thing though. This track has a happy little melody with simple, sweet lyrics. It sounds a tad like "Sweet Disposition" by Temper Trap or " 1914" by Phoenix ( Philipe Zdar produced both this album and "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, if its not broke eh?) with a kind of Playschool vibe. As much I hate to admit it, I like those tracks. Just like every over person on the planet.
9. Can You Find a Way?
The Middle East meets videogames and vomits a track in your face. With a dervish call to arms droll of "Maybe if you tried it you would even like it, maybe if you let yourself go," bloopy-bleepy synth (don't act like you don't know what that means) with random and crashing guitars. This track is short, unusual, a tad unsettling but fun.
10. How Deep is Your Love?
Gospel type pianos and drum machine equals early nineties eurodance! Unsettling for many of us admittedly but give this track 48 seconds. The static bass kicks in with his buddy the funk drums! Bam the best dance-punk track since LCD's "Dance Yrself Clean" (admittedly that was only last year but it was bloody good). "Let me hear that song" should be on the mouths of every alternative, every hipster, every indie kids lips for the next few months. Assuming DJ's are brave enough to play it. Listen closely and you can hear the cowbells are back in this track with a vengeance. Move over "House of Jealous Lovers" the Rapture have a new calling card. The bridge gives you a moment to catch your breath and commences with "How deep is love? Oh! How deep is love?" (Not a cover, alas) then this track just kicks you teeth in with bum bum bumbumbum, reprise. Cultish dance master class. Be here now.
11. It Takes Time to Be a Man
Jenning's song to his children full of a hopeful advice and the nicer side of Christian idealism; also happens be the funkiest, most soulful, piece of Motown mimicry there is. Lazy seductive bass, with "my first piano" melody cuddles Jennings "I bet you can't get what you want, come on baby come on darling, I bet you can't get what you need, come on sugar and try". For my money the standout track on the album. Not only because it stands out like a sore thumb, but also because just a massively seductive and warm track. This will make your day so much better.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoy this album, but I'm biased I love this band. Hopefully you do to know. Go buy their third album "Pieces of the People We Love" it's largely more upbeat but a much harder listen. Take on "Echoes" when you're a pro. Until next time scenesters.