In the Grace of Your Love – The Rapture (September 2011)

Even moreso than anything put out by James Murphy himself (“Losing My Edge” came out the same year), The Rapture’s 2002 single “House of Jealous Lovers” has come to define dance-punk.  Squawed vocals, Gang of Four guitar, one of the meanest basslines ever, and fucking cowbell came together for a song like nothing else we would ever hear.  The other ten tracks on their 2003 debut Echoes are nothing compared to it.  Dance!  Punk!!!  The sound deserved to catch fire in a way that it just failed to, but maybe it was because it was so difficult to uncork the bottle The Rapture captured their lightning with.

After a five year silence following their 2006 sophomore effort and attempt at mainstream attention (more dance, less punk), Pieces of the People We Love, The Rapture put out the lead single for their new album, In the Grace of Your Love, and holy shit.  “How Deep Is Your Love?” opens with a piano riff straight out of Transylvania, snagging this the title of the creepy love song dance anthem of 2011 (2010’s winner: Hot Chip’s “One Life Stand”).  After it revs its engine and that groove possesses the song, its romantic desperation (“How deep is your love?” and “let me hear that song,” sound more and more broken with each repetition) sounds outright titanic.  Despite its already impressive size, The Rapture finds room for a saxophone halfway through and somehow make the most dangerous musical instrument known to man work wonders.  “How Deep Is Your Love?” might not become an important part of musical history like “House of Jealous Lovers,” but might be the better song.  I reckon it to be the best from this year.

I readied myself for an incredible new album from The Rapture, but this was not what I wanted.  The only song to match the muscle of the lead single is “Miss You,” a song about a screwed up maternal relationship.  Coming right before that one, “Sail Away,” which is wide-eyed and gorgeous, contrasts “Miss You” sharply with a problem-free declaration of love worthy of Disney.  These three highlights all rank as some of the year’s best songs, each being unrestrained assaults on your hips that reimagine the music that made the world dance in the seventies and eighties.

Too many tracks, though often sporting decent melody and fitting grooves, fall flat, though.  “Roller Coaster” sounds like a song you might hear in a carnival to decorate a far less exciting ride.  “Blue Bird” is an explosion of glam that, after “Sail Away” and “Miss You,” renders my feet strangely motionless.  “It Takes Time to Be a Man,” which closes the album, follows the impressive momentum of “How Deep Is Your Love?” with…easy listening?  I admire that The Rapture have tried to package so many different sounds into this album, but next to the dance tracks, their specialty, the other music clumsily trips over its own feet.

Like they did on Echoes, In the Grace of Your Love has The Rapture imagining a great sound but only occasionally making the most of it.  After I finish hearing “House of Jealous Lovers” or “How Deep Is Your Love?” and am on to the next one, I find myself pleading, “Come on, guys.  Let me hear that song.”


Published in: on September 23, 2011 at 3:36 PM  Leave a Comment  

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