Under Review: The Rapture – In The Grace Of Your Love

Time moves both quickly and slowly in today’s information-cluttered world. For a band to take a five year break between albums is too often grounds to commence referring to that band in the past tense.  After making a major label move with the slick but satisfying Pieces Of The People We Love, New York dance punkers The Rapture retreated from the public eye for nearly two years. A hip-hop influenced stopgap single, “No Sex For Ben,” was featured on the soundtrack to a Grand Theft Auto video game, unfortunately relegating one of the band’s finest moments to underscore killing hookers and stealing cop cars. In the following years, bassist Matt Safer left the group, bringing the band down to a trio. With a renewed vision, leader Luke Jenner piles on the experimentation on In The Grace Of Your Love, The Rapture’s third full-length. The music found on the new album doesn’t always adhere to the dance-punk style that The Rapture themselves helped define. Jittery guitars and agogo bells have given way to disco strings (“Come Back To Me”) and house pianos (“How Deep Is Your Love”). Though it’s easily recognizable as being a Rapture album, In The Grace Of Your Love is surprising and diverse.

In his effort to expand his band’s sound, Jenner shows off some of his influences in no explicit ways. Toward the middle of the album comes the artsy “Rollercoaster,” which is part Drums And Wires-era XTC and part super early Talking Heads. The classic glam backbeat of early highlight “Miss You” eventually gives way to a glittery, keyboard-sparkled chorus. Jenner’s trademark falsetto is used more sparingly here than on Pieces Of The People We Love, a move that helps give these widely eclectic songs a consistent underlying thread. While there are fewer songs that jump out as immediate strokes of brilliance, the album’s slow-burning charm is fitting. After all, an overly extroverted album would call into question the usefulness of The Rapture’s hiatus. In The Grace Of Your Love takes time to sink in, giving the listener a sense of the patience it took to craft the record. There are sure to be plenty who reject the album as missed opportunity for a grand return. If a ‘second coming’ is what’s in store for The Rapture, In The Grace Of Your Love is a wholly appropriate mission statement: a forward-thinking reflection of the past that’s anything but predictable.

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~ by E. on September 7, 2011.

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