Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How Deep is Your Love?

Song: How Deep is Your Love?
Artist: The Rapture
Album: In the Grace of Your Love

A slew of new albums are being released by bands I really love and I've been trying to absorb them as much as possible.  After a ho-hum musical summer... I'm excited for some old standbys to hit me with some quality material.  It had been so long since New York City's The Rapture released their amazing second full-length album, 2006's "Pieces of the People We Love," that I'd stopped checking in on them to find out when new music was coming.  So it was a pleasant surprise to find out that their long anticipated new record, "In the Grace of Your Love" would be coming out early this September.

The band are returning to the DFA label after briefly being on Motown/Universal for "Pieces."  This time they have recruited Phoenix and Cassius producer Philippe Zdar for the album, which was recorded in Paris and Brooklyn.  The sound of this record is much less polished (and catchy) than "Pieces," to the point that I must say... I was a little disappointed.  But after living with the album for a couple days, it is starting to take shape for me.  It's much more "live" sounding, yet contains their hallmark dance-rock sound.

Embarrassingly, I only know big single "House of Jealous Lovers" from their debut "Echoes," which had a distinctly DFA-esque sound to it.  I thought that "Pieces" took that sound and made it... well, more radio friendly.  Which may be two very dirty words to the indie-hipster crowd.  It's possible that The Rapture wanted to do something a little more down and dirty for their next album... or simply, try a new sound on a new record.  But managing expectations aside, the record is filled with some gems... and subsequent listens may unfold its brilliance even more.

"Sail Away" begins the album with lead singer Luke Jenner's pleading vocals and a persistent beat, exploding into an orgy of synths, hi-hat, and guitar.  It immediately sounds like The Rapture, and yet my initial reaction was that it didn't hold the punch of say a "Get Myself Into It," or "The Devil," but was a little "House of Jealous Lovers..." but then at the three-and-a-half minute mark it goes all spacey/jazzy freak out.  WTF?  Second track "Miss You" starts with a sole bass line and then a strut-worthy beat.  As the song begins to build I started to hear Yeasayer... Jenner even sounds a bit like Chris Keating.  Third track "Blue Bird" has a Brit-Pop/Psychedelia feel that seems very out of character for the band... but it's good.

I love the French-sounding, throbbing track "Come Back to Me," and then the slower, atmospheric title track.  The fun gets amped up as the record goes along while I hear echos of everyone from Talking Heads to The Drums.  Lead single "How Deep is Your Love?" is tucked toward the end of the record, but it's a doozy... a six-and-a-half minute epic with house-style piano, glacial synths, and hand-claps.  Pretty awesome.

While I did have some initial disappointment, and difficulty picking a track to highlight off this record without a clear stand-out grabber, the more I listen the more this album is getting to me.  It's not as instant as their previous work, but I'm getting the impression that this is a grower.


How Deep is Your Love?
Sail Away
Come Back to Me

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