Genre-spanning survivors the Rapture hold up well to expansion
Published: October 13, 2011
8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 18
In the Grace of Your Love (DFA)
The Rapture’s star rocketed on the meteoric thrust of the clang-bang disco punk on their 2003 breakout album Echoes. On 2006’s Pieces of the People We Love, they moved away from the frenetic punk fray and committed more decisively to the rubbery funk of disco. Now, with the long-awaited album In the Grace of Your Love, they’ve retooled once again as a broader-minded indie dance-rock band instead of something overly boutique. In fact, the scope of their new outlook is downright panoramic, spanning synth-pop, deep dance, rock and (what the?!) sumptuous blue-eyed soul. Most encouraging is that style here seems largely secondary to the actual songs.
The surefire hits are the dazzling heights of dance-floor romance like the anthems “Sail Away” and “Children.” Other, moodier dance standouts include the acid-house minimalism of “Come Back to Me” and the slow, blooming title track. But straight-up indie rock is also handled deftly on the quirky, psych-brushed “Roller Coaster” and especially the sky-riding, falsetto-kissed “Blue Bird.” Even the surprising, almost Mayer Hawthorne-worthy soul outing, “It Takes Time to Be a Man,” passes muster. Amid all the genre fluctuations, frontman Luke Jenner actually has a pretty solid, straight singing voice.
When lightning like the Echoes hit “House of Jealous Lovers” strikes, it’s difficult to transcend the mark that it seared onto the public consciousness. While it’s true that everything the Rapture has done since hasn’t taken as many chances or conjured that wild original spark, In the Grace of Your Love is them at their most balanced and expansive. Perhaps most importantly, it’s much less likely to be shackled to such a narrow window in time. Identity remains a moving target for the band, but this album is without question their most centered and robust full-length work yet.
> Email Bao Le-Huu