Google Imaging “Guy On Surfboard+Large+Black & White” does not an album cover make. I’m just sayin’.
For those of you too young to remember 2002, let me tell you that
everything was beautiful and nothing hurt there was this band called The Rapture and they had this one song that slayed everything that summer. The song was “House Of Jealous Lovers.” Highly danceable and just underground enough so that kids in suburban California could pogo to it, it was the perfect pre-college summer jam for people who were going to art school that Fall.
It, as I have just previously mentioned, totally fucking slayed. The album – 2003′s “Echoes” – was great, yet no other track on the album packed the punch that “House Of Jealous Lovers” did; and despite an underrated follow up (2006′s “Pieces Of The People That We Love”) The Rapture have kind of been relegated to the “Huh, well” pile of bands, kind of like The Guess Who; the kind of band that you’ll dig out and listen to and think, “Why didn’t they cement their Great Fucking Band status?”.
The Rapture’s new album “In The Grace Of Your Love” leaked today, and giving it a listen, it makes up for the past 8 years of odd communication between the band and its fans. For starters, none of the songs sound like they’re ten minutes long, which was the problem with earlier Rapture songs, in that despite a four minute length (‘Olio’), they felt like the last throes of a particularly paranoid mushroom trip. Sonically, on this album, The Rapture have finally outdone their dance-specific schtick and have gone to an almost glam/prog level on some tracks while giving other tracks an almost South American dancehall vibe (the excellent and refreshing ‘Come Back To Me’), amongst other treats.
When I caught them live in 2003, they closed the show with a cover of Gary Glitter’s ‘Rock & Roll Pt 2′), and that struck me as a fitting cover for them. Not because they got arrested for buggering little boys (hint: Gary Glitter did), but because at their best, you forget you’re even listening to a Rapture song and get lost in the moment.
At their worst, The Rapture sound like committee thinking—like they were trying too hard to remind you that you are listening to Very Important Music. Thankfully, those moments are far and few between here. Only on the title track ‘In The Grace Of Your Love’ is the curtain pulled back and does it feel like they’re falsely trying to create a moment.
How long will dance-punk (or whatever the fuck it’s called now) remain relevant? The album would have been groundbreaking if it had come out in 2006 yet as we round the corner into 2012 one has to wonder if it will hold up in, say, a year. And I like these guys. They’re a solid band and (judging by my own personal encounters with them many years ago and their webcast / Q+A session a few nights ago) really nice guys.
But this may hold up simply as the bookend to the ’00s sound to which they helped create: 1999′s fantastic “Mirror” EP (“Notes” is one of their best songs and is rarely played live), and now this, 2011′s “In The Grace Of Your Love,” signaling the beginning and the inevitable end of the ’00s era hipster stranglehold. After all, it was The Rapture who broke through (along with The Strokes, but “The Diminishing Returns Of Julian Casablancas” is a whole other article for a whole other time) and put the Brooklyn / Williamsburg / skinny jeans thing on the map.
“In The Grace Of Your Love” is a solid album, don’t get me wrong. This is largely due to the fantastic and shimmeringly original songwriting on the second half of the album. During the last half, tracks like ‘Roller Coaster’ and the runaway standout (and first single) “How Deep Is Your Love” show a huge leap forward not just in style but in, dare I say it, class.
It hits a kind of groove that cements this album as a modern classic, if I can go that far, but I hesitate to say that the mainstream will find it a classic. This is a classic in the same way – to tie up the loose ends of an earlier anology – The Guess Who’s “Canned Wheat” is a classic. If someone doesn’t dig it out within the next year, someone is going to dig it out in the future and hail it as the high water mark for the final wave of 00′s era musicianship.