Music fans are a fickle bunch, trends ebb and flow like the tides and it’s arguable that any band wishing to remain at the forefront of people’s consciousness must not only deliver innovative and progressive releases, but also be relatively consistent - one album every two years would probably satiate most fans needs. In contrast to this The Rapture are on the verge of releasing their first album “proper” (excluding 2008’s mix album Tapes) since 2006 – a whopping 5 year gap! Question is, are they still relevant? Still surfing the wave of nu-post-punk/funk? And does anyone still care?
Returning to DFA records may have hinted at a return to their more abrasive, angular sound associated with ‘Echoes’, stepping away from the polished funk of ‘Piece of People We Love’. However, on first listen the most noticeable thing about ‘In the Grace of your love’ is a distinct lack of the spiky, upbeat, groove-driven numbers of ‘Echoes’ or the smooth-funk of ‘POPWL’. Instead the band seems to have regressed to writing fairly lackluster guitar-based indie “anthems” – a promising start!
Opener ‘Sail Away’ certainly sets the tone– a fair attempt at rousing, but feels somewhat like a poor man’s Arcade Fire. Jenner’s repetitive vocal line will likely grate on some and the track concludes with an inexplicable 2mins of prog synth meandering.
'Bluebird’ is another attempt at epic that falls flat, ending up a psychedelic muddle. The falsetto vocals through the verse are like an open challenge from the band too the fans to see what they are capable of enduring.
But wait a minute, what’s this? Beat-driven ‘Come Back to Me’ opens encouragingly with its looped accordion, but is swiftly sunk by lyrics and repetitive chorus: “Aren’t we all children?” A heavy-handed breakdown in the middle certainly doesn’t help things either.
A few more forgettable songs and we hit the albums only real reprieve - lead single ‘How Deep is Your Love’. Conjuring up memories of early house with the heavily reverberated stabbing piano chords it drops into a down tempo pulsing rhythm. However, it’s too little too late and the album concludes unrewardingly with soul-tinged ‘It Takes Time to be a Man’ – a repetitive piano lick over more embarrassingly poor lyrics, notably the ‘Hallelujah’ harmonies to close.
Unfortunately, since ‘POPWL’ times have moved on, and The Rapture have moved backward. Their existing catalogue is inconsistent in quality, but there was something enigmatic and unique that kept fans loyal. Disappointingly, ‘ITGOYL’ contains almost no trace of the upbeat indie/electro cross-over music that awarded them so much affection in the first place. It would appear that over their extended break from making music the band have lost their way.