There's nothing lazy about this album...
Matt Harvey 2003-09-11
The Rapture are a New York indie rock band, sometimes referred to as The Disco Strokes. This is their first album, produced by the hip studio duo DFA. An early single from the album, the shouty "House of Jealous Lovers", has become a dance floor classic. Hopes run high in the land of the cool.
In the spirit of the age this album mines the early 80s; though not the electro pop of that decade like Fischerspooner et al. (So last year!) No, the Rapture reference the austere sounds of British punk-funk.
If you're over 35 you might remember, The Gang of Four, PiL, ACR. Protest music of the Thatcher era, music which made you wear a beret and live in a squat and think about taking up Kung Fu. Add to this the fact that singer Luck Jenner sounds like Robert Smith of the Cure and you have...an exercise in nostalgia?
No, that's not fair. It's more than that. There's nothing lazy about this album, they've worked hard in the heat and sweat of the Big Apple - producing something which is quite special.
The most immediate pleasure comes from the more housey tracks. "Jealous Lovers" still makes me want to jump about and kiss someone I shouldn't and "I Want Your Love" is as groovesome a tune as you'll hear all year.
You suspect these two tracks are where the DFA really take control, nostalgic for a time when Blondie went to rap clubs and Talking Heads were hipper than hip. The band's tastes come to the fore on the rest of the album.
And it's on the more introspective tracks that Jenner's voice sounds most at home, especially "Love Is All" and "Open Up Your Heart." He claims to be a big Barry White fan, and in a weird way his plaintive wailing offers up a skinny boy version of the great mans rumblings.
It would be easy to go on playing spot the influence - the title track is just soooo PiL, but somehow that would miss the point. The lyrics are sometimes rubbish, and the shrill yelp can be overdone; but overall I can't help but be charmed. Go on, let yourself like them. It'd be churlish not to.