Review: Jack Foley
THE New York music scene continues to deliver some of the most
talked about bands of the moment, from The White Stripes and Stellastarr
to current favourites, The Rapture.
Yet you can have too much of a good thing, particularly when
so much of it sounds the same.
The Rapture - comprised of Luke Jenner (vocals), Matt Safer,
Vito Roccoforte and Gabe Andruzzi - possess that vibe about them,
right now, which has helped to place them in the 'hot' caregory
reserved almost exclusively for the NY scene, and sit comfortably
in that 80s revivial, punk-funk envelope that seems to be sweeping
all before it at present.
Yet as good as some of the songs are on Echoes, there
is a familiarity about much of the album which makes it difficult
to get excited about.
Take Jenner's vocals, for example, which, at times, resemble
Robert Smith's so much that it is hard not to imagine yourself
listening to a Cure record, albeit a not so good one; or the more
frenetic moments, when comparisons with Hot Hot Heat, or even
The Strokes, spring to mind.
It is little wonder that one US music journo once dubbed them,
'The Disco Strokes' after hearing their singles, House of Jealous
Lovers and Olio.
Yet it is during the livelier moments that the album actually
works best, for attempts to slow things down, as in the muddled
Open Up Your Heart, take the strained vocals a little too
far and sound a little painful as a result.
The disco vibe that has been attributed to them at least marks
a difference from the pure guitar of bands such as The Strokes,
or The Cure, and serves to lend a dance-orientated feel to the
likes of I Need Your Love, Olio and Sister Saviour,
All three are great tracks and you wish there were more moments
like it throughout the album.
Current single, House of Jealous Lovers, is another little
gem, a shimmering, nervy record, which is packed full of the edgy
guitars that are a trademark of The Raptures' sound.
And given America's fascination for all things 80s based, it
is little wonder to find so many influences from that era, with
tracks such as The Coming of Spring sounding especially
like Talking Heads' Psycho Killer, and plenty of vocal references
to John Lydon or The Clash.
But there are moments when the stretched vocal style and ragged,
raw guitars feel a little too forced, and, as a result, non-descript
- such as Heaven and title track, Echoes.
The album is brought to a suitably satisfying close, however,
with the fresh sounding Love Is All, and the brooding Infatuation,
which suggest that, beyond the surface, there is a lot more to
The Rapture's make-up that has yet to reveal itself.
Funky at times, downright painful at others, this will no doubt
make big waves with the punk-funk revivalists, while also suggesting
that the best is yet to come.
3. Open Up Your Heart
4. I Need Your Love
5. The Coming Of Spring
6. House Of Jealous Lovers
9. Sister Saviour
10. Love Is All