on October 24, 2003
Alright, hype machine...you terrible thing.
Let's get the "influences" thing over with. Yes, like everyone says, they sound a lot like The Gang of Four, and many of those post-punkers from the late 70s and early 80s. But don't let that get ya down! These boys have a great sound!
"Sister Saviour" sounds like a modern version of The Police, with danceable jangly Jamaican guitars and a kicking bass. And the pace and echo guitars resemble "Run" by Pink Floyd. Definitely one of the album's strongest songs.
There is of course "House of Jealous Lovers" which either makes or breaks a fan. Some can't get into the repetition and high pitched squeal, but damn me if I'm wrong, the song WILL make you wanna hit the nearest dance floor and shake your ass.
Every song reminds me of The Stone Roses, but with a much darker aura and without the psychadelic nonsense.
There are even slow ballads to allow you to catch your breath. "Open Up Your Heart" is a good example. The vocals wisp here and there, wavering sharp and flat from emotions. Some may not like that style of shaky vocal chords, but I think it is quite refreshing. This band puts their all into their music, as if you were hearing it live.
Not to sound pretentious, but The Rapture isn't for everyone. There is quite a bit of shrilly falsetto that would even make Brian Ferry blush. Many people can't stomach a band like Mars Volta simply for the glass-shattering vocals, so if a voice like Elliott Smith (R.I.P.) is your cup o' tea, then perhaps The Rapture is not your band.
However, if you're one of those music freaks that never got asked to dance at the local suaree, then The Rapture is your calling. Guitars echo in and out of consciousness as if in a dream, and the ever-present pulsating rhythm, fronted mainly by the amazing bass licks, makes you wanna get freaky.
Finally, to emphasize, don't let similarities to past influences get ya down. Did anyone knock The New York Dolls for copying the swagger of the Stones? Certainly not. Did anyone smirk at the Stones for copying Muddy Waters? Was Lou Reed patronized for sounding like Bob Dylan? I would hope not. The point is, influences are everywhere in modern music. There is a taste of the past in absolutely every band out there, no doubt. The Rapture took their influences, and made a modern go of it, and they succeeded! This album will get you in the groove, and you will certainly dance a dangerous dance.
on October 22, 2003
You can't go wrong with The Rapture. Of the disco-punk movement, they and Radio 4 are at the top of the heap.
This has been a highly anticipated album. Little leaks of songs have been released here and there for the last several months. DFA had put out a number of fantastic 12" singles that I have been able to snatch up while I was waiting and the Yes New York compilation contains the glorious new vamped-up version of Olio.
Is it any real coincidence that both Blondie and Siouxsie had songs called (The) Rapture? You can hear elements of both that New York disco that Blondie was doing and that spaced out goth that Siouxsie was sculpting back in the day. But, if you can stomach a few more references, what really stands out to me with this album in particular and their two earlier ones is the following scenario: What if Robert Smith stepped up and volunteered his vocals to Joy Division after Ian Curtis ceased to be? Imagine that cusp, where New Order split off and continued with the anxiety Joy Division had but cloaked in a soothing atmosphear of early electronica. I know it's a lot to consider, but I can hear all of that and Robert Smith circa Faith ...
All that said, it is unfair for me, just a fan, to heap all of this mystique onto a band like The Rapture. If nothing else, Echoes proves that this band is responsible for it's own dynamics.
Now onto the tracks (or, a few of the ones I like best):
Olio has grown tremendously since The Rapture's first album. Listen to both and after a while you will gravitate to this one.
The Coming Of Spring has the familiar "get yourself together" that they used on Out Of The Races And Onto The Tracks. The rest of the song is completely different though.
House Of Jealous Lovers seems to be their hit, though I can't quite say it is better than, say Olio, or Killing. Great cow-bell though.
Killing is the best song on the album and probably one of the best songs ever made. Of the disco-punk movement, I'd say it is the best. If you don't know anything about The Rapture, buy this album just for this song alone. It's that good.
Infatuation is haunting, melancholy and will stay with you in your head for the rest of the day.
Echoes as an album is built up of contrasts, the band seem to be able to do lots of different musical styles but the most interesting thing about it is it blends together so nicely. You hardly notice when one style changes to another.
I buy albums all the time but this one is the best I have picked up in several months.
on October 24, 2003
This album is getting a rather unfair reception, considering that two of its best singles took the indie and dance worlds by storm a YEAR before this finally came out, which is to say: if things had gone right and situations out of the band's control hadn't kept this thing under wraps for a year, neither the hype nor the hype-fueled backlash would have been anywhere near as large as it is, and people could have enjoyed this on its own merits, as an inconsistent album with some WICKEDLY good high points.
Context out of the way: this is an inconsistent album with some WICKEDLY good high points (heh). If you've had your head in the sand and never heard "House of Jealous Lovers", it's simply the catchiest post-punk song since 1981, guaranteed to make you shake your ass over its sick beats, mangled guitar lines, and Luke Jenner's sandpaper-and-Robert-Smith call-and-response yelps. "Olio", the other year-old single, goes all-out on the Cure thing over the piano and some DFA-cooked-up bubbly(but not cheery by any means) house beats, not as arresting as "House" but pretty hypnotic.
Looking past these two heavyweights, though, there are several contenders that might even top them. Sister Savior, the new single, might do it, because it somehow manages to COMBINE their high points, as positively prehistoric beats and synth vie with colossal guitar stabs to birth something so dirtily drugged-out sexy I guarantee that you'll find yourself dry-humping the nearest pair of arms and legs the dancefloor has to offer. "Heaven", a track nobody seems to notice, mixes up wiry post-punk guitars with warped barbershop harmonies and even a brief moment of balls-out RAWK to produce something like what TV on the Radio would come up with if given PCP. "I Need Your Love" is the most house-sounding song they've ever done, but made so icy and resolutely lo-fi by that trademark DFA production that it never falls into disposability. And, totally unlike anything else here, "Love Is All" is what would happen if Big Star were from the year 2070, like space-age power pop, and despite the massive incongruity of the Rapture trying to pull off a song like this on a CD like this, IT WORKS.
This album certainly has some flaws, though fewer than it gets charged with. Tracks like "Echoes" and "The Coming of Spring" really _are_ snatched right out of a Public Image Limited or Gang of Four album, with little to make them new; I happen to love that stuff, but those songs lend plenty of ammo to the "it's all been done" argument without having quite the arresting power of "House of Jealous Lovers". Two of the ballads, "Open Up Your Heart" (party-stoppingly positioned as the third track and just begging to be programmed out), and the closer "Infatuation", sound like bad Radiohead ballads, and Jenner's voice, cool over chaos, is just atrocious to behold here.
So sit back and ignore both the hype and the anti-hype: their best stuff is blazing hot, but they're mere mortals who still fall flat on their faces every once in a while.
on March 9, 2005
people that have trashed this album that said they listen to "diverse" music listed off a bunch of radio bands. and people that complain about them ripping off other bands are naming bands that haven't put out an album in 15-20 years. time to move on, my stalwarts, the rapture, unfortunately for you, is progress.
ok, first off: if there's one word i could use to describe the rapture, it would be: difficult.
difficult because it's so in-your-face, and not in a traditional distorted punk-rock sound or any other sound you've been listening to for decades. but there's a lot going on under the surface here- and it takes a few listens to realize it.
sure their lyrics are a little asanine. but i'd be willing to venture that 75% of lyrics are as well. sure, the lead singer's voice is a bit much at first, but if we wanna talk irritating vocalists, let's please move on to michael mcdonald's swallowed vibrato. the fact is that the rapture is going for an edgy, nearly obnoxious sound in the fashion of all the great art-house punk before them, and everything, from the vocalist's voice to the distorted high-pitched twang of the guitar accomplishes this sound amazingly. but the rapture are also not afraid to tread onto new ground by adding super-processed electronic beats and by stretching out to slow, melancholy balads.
it's a lot to take, and you know why?
because you haven't heard it before.
they have a long way to go before being a really memorable and influential band, but after one true full length album, they are already obviously on their way. i own their older stuff, and i can see in this album that they have come a long way, especially in terms of writing really well-written dynamic songs. and they are already a huge part of the dance-punk scene, and if they gain notoriety in any circle, it will be because they've earned it- not because they're so difficult that everyone thinks they're cool enough saying they listen to them.
on April 18, 2004
This is not the album of 2003, whatever Pitchfork would like you to believe. For one thing, the album barely belongs to the band; which is to say that they aren't able to transcend their influences. Imagine if Tom Verlaine (Television) fronted a band comprising Gang of Four and Chic with Nigel Godrich producing. The equations yields some pretty fantastic agit-dance indie-pop...and more than its fair share of baffling selections.
For another, the album just isn't that good. It's mysteriously front-loaded with a ship-shod ballad (Open up your heart) and a wholly drab slice of indie-rock (Heaven.) The fact that they even make these attempts shows they don't really know what makes them special yet; they aren't a very good rock band, they're a fairly good dance-rock band. Olio, the opener, demonstrates this synthesis very well. I Need Your Love is equally impressive, finally arriving after those two poor tracks, but the momentum it builds is barely sustained with the repetitive, uninspired Coming of Spring.
In case you haven't caught up, this isn't the way to start off an album. I can only imagine that the strength of the next 4 tracks are what Pitchfork reviewers were focusing on; The House of Jealous Lovers, Echoes, Killing, and finally (the best yet) Sister Savior. Startling, relentless, groovy. A slice of dance-floor heaven. I'd vote for Sister Savior as retro-dance song of the year. And once the climax is reached, a sounds-like-George-Harrison-cover Love is All (?) followed by a Gorillaz-copied ballad, Infatuation? (???)
Clearly these guys don't know what they're good for.
And the final thing; this album with it's dependence on 80's synths and disco beats, is destined to sound dated in 5 years. Heck, most of it already sounds dated today. So there we have it: an overrated album with the best 15 minutes of 2003 sandwiched between 30 minutes of "meh." Hmm...would've been a killer EP!
on March 25, 2005
These guys are good. They've been slagged off by many people for the fact that they take influences from the Cure and a few other new wave bands, but so what? Adittedly the vocalist's voice takes a bit of getting used to, but at least they have the guts to do singing in a strange yelp. the instrumentation is excellent, and it is the disco punk tracks like "echoes" and "house of jealous lovers" that are probably the best, all razor-sharp guitars and driving drum and bass lines. (the cow bell is an idea of genius). This album does grow on you, and GO AND BUY IT
on November 10, 2003
...that somebody shot the Detached Horse of Irony that has, for so long, paralyzed the indie rock community. We can now actually go to shows and, well, DANCE and have a good time!
As for the album: you're not going to get any heavy lyrical content, but the music/concept is all in place. The band can play, the production is tight, and they want you to get up off you a** and participate! Which is a good thing, I think!
on November 2, 2003
This is a Great album. The tracks go well together to create an album, instead of a bunch of singles tossed together.
I hadn't heard of the band before a friend recommended this album. Now I'm recommending it to you.
It's not radio friendly, so you won't see its tracks on a top 40 list. It is very ear friendly though. The music is a very cool blend of dance floor beats and early 90s angst rock.
on April 24, 2005
There are many so-called "dancepunk" bands lately, but nothing like this one we have here. The Raptures relys heavily on synth and creates trance sound with old school punk. The combination may sound a bit wacky, yet it works.
You might have some hard time controlling your body when you listen to the 4th track, "I need your love".
on April 1, 2004
I just purchased "Echoes" a while back and I'll be the first to admit that some of the songs took a while to grow on me. I find The Rapture is a hybrid between disco music and The Cure. It's so hard to listen to these guys and not want to move around to it and that's what I love about this album. The drumming and bass lines just kick ass for starters and the added sax player and cowbell gives The Rapture's music a more interesting texture.
"Olio" is an excellent intro to this album and doesn't come on too strong in introducing the listener to their eclectic sounds. It is one of my favorites on the album. Some of the songs I liked instantly, while others are taking me a little more time to process ("Love Is All" in particular.) I love "House Of Jealous Lovers," "Open Up Your Heart," "Sister Savior," and my personal favorite is the serene and soft ending of the album - "Infatuation." Interesting to mention also that every time I hear "Echoes" I have to dance like no one is watching - even if I'm mopping the floor.
I saw these guys recently with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and discovered that The Rapture is a band whose work, although excellent on cd, is absolutely amazing live. I've never felt so much energy. Luke Jenner and Mattie Safer are such charasmatic performers. (I even got to meet Jenner.)While I will admit that Luke Jenner's voice may not be for everyone, this music is different from what I usually listen to and if you're looking for something upbeat and interesting, this it it. Plus, see these guys live! You will not regret it.