...A spunky second showing with a dark heart for the fashionistas’ fave band.
Jerome Blakeney 2007
This album is a 6 Music album of the day
The Rakes have been threatening on their own website that Ten New Messages represents something akin to a concept album. Singer Alan Donohoe has even gone as far as to say that it’s influenced by: 'a combination of choral music, the television show ‘24’, Bond theme tunes, World War 1 poets and the Sugababes’, One suspects that, pretty much like their legendary, self-mythologised beginnings, their tongues are firmly in cheeks, yet this return of the skinny London tykes does seem to have some very particular modern themes running through it.
Though the band’s musical touchstones on their debut, Capture/Release, were the Clash and the Stranglers, they’ve now gone properly post-punk (along with the rest of the known universe) and angular chugging white-boy funk topped off with stirring guitar riffs is the order of the day. One could point to their resemblance to former mentors Franz Ferdinand and also The Strokes, but this lot are so up front about their magpie sensibilities it’s impossible to use it as a complaint. They rock as well as anyone.
Produced by Jim Abbiss and Brendan Lynch, the album brims with catchiness, not least first single “We Danced Together”. The songs build on the first album’s themes of London leisure in the face of mind-numbing careers and endless commuting, but are here tinged with a darker paranoia, filled with references to edgy tube journeys (“Suspicious Eyes”) and panic in the face of urban terror (“When Tom Cruise Cries”)”. The lyrics remain witty, though one can’t help feeling that anyone not resident in the UK capital might feel a little excluded by their everyday tales of life in The Smoke, no matter how many references to mobile phones you cram in.
So, a spunky second showing with a dark heart for the fashionistas’ fave band. There’s more to them than just designer labels…