The Rapture – In The Grace of Your Love (DFA Records)

September 5, 2011 by  

Benicassim 2007, Klaxons slot is pushed back and they will now be playing after The Rapture. Thousands of neon face painted fans moan but enter the tent hoping they will play ?House Of Jealous Lovers? and be done with. Twenty minutes later these same kids are on the verge of running out of steam for their main event. When Klaxons do eventually arrive on stage, their set seems more like the warm down act. The Rapture absolutely blew them away, their cowbell heavy indie-funk had everyone in the tent dancing and jumping on demand. The Klaxons went on to win the Mercury Prize award whilst The Rapture went on a 5-year hiatus.

That night in Spain just about sums up the band. Their solid and infectious major label debut ?Echoes? was an indie smash. Along with ?Jealous Lovers?, ?Sister Saviour? was all over the indie discos at the time, but they never quite broke through. They returned in 2006 at the height of indie?s domination with ?Pieces Of The People We Love? a more mainstream effort, containing more pop-orientated funk hits like ?Get Myself Into It? and ?Don Gon Do It? and featuring production from Danger Mouse. Yet they still never received the recognition of other indie acts or other dance acts. They quietly went about their business without ever breaking through to the masses.

Five years later and having lost bassist and co-frontman Mattie Safer, they return with ?In The Grace Of Your Love?, but it seems they have lost any momentum they garnered with their trademark sound. The thing that made them such a good band on their previous two albums was quite simply the catchiness of the songs. They had great stage presence and showmanship, which Safer was a major part of, but the guitar hooks, the saxophone riffs and the thumping bass was what made the records. There are glimpses of this on the new record, the title track for example has the same spark that is all over ?Echoes? and ?How Deep Is Your Love? is like an early 90?s ?Sister Saviour? and stands up against their previous work.

Too often though, the tracks lack the hooks and the originality that fans of the band had come to expect, and after a five-year hiatus, there really is no excuse. Opener ?Sail Away? seems to be an attempt at a sing along anthem but lacks substance. ?Miss You? is a solid effort, containing a nice organ hook, but it is one of the only memorable hooks on an album. Closer ?It Takes Time To Be A Man? sounds oddly like a Rolling Stones b-side, their take on blue-eyed soul a surprising climax to the album, but at least offering something different.

The record screams of a lack of direction, their saving grace might be that their fans have been waiting so long for a record, any record will do. Hopefully they will rediscover their spark and sooner, rather than later, return with a more accomplished effort they are more than capable of.