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Echoes (Intl (EU) comm CD)

The Rapture

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Album Review

One 12", produced and released by the DFA, transformed the Rapture from a benign indie band into hot hot sh*t. Once "House of Jealous Lovers" — a horrifically mangled jolt with a viscous rhythmic vroom as dynamite as anything from the late-'70s U.K. post-punk bands — took hold in the underground, anticipation for this album built, built, and kept on building. Has the wait paid off? Yes and no. It has, in a sense, because that single seemed like a case of capturing lightning in a bottle — a one-off that would define an otherwise extremely average band — and Echoes ably proves that it was no fluke. The wait hasn't paid off, in a sense, because hype turned Echoes into a monolithic event when, in truth, it turns out that only half of it proves "House of Jealous Lovers" to be no fluke. The lesser half nearly chokes the album, as it casts the Rapture as the same rickety band that it was before the rebirth. "Open Up Your Heart," daringly placed as the third track, is a hollow, momentum-killing piano ballad; on "Love Is All," multiple Southern boogie elements prove to be a mismatch; "Infatuation" closes the album with a murmur. Another detracting feature is the overuse of Luke Jenner's Robert Smith, which is oftentimes more glaring than Paul Banks' Ian Curtis and Jack White's Robert Plant put together. However, when the band is on, it is on. Nearly toppling their previous best, "I Need Your Love" is propelled by a relentlessly thumping backbeat, an unshakable keyboard vamp, and gurgling keyboards — it's the band's second stroke of indie-dance genius. "The Coming of Spring" is another frantic neo-post-punk slasher, with wonderfully needling guitars cleaved by a Nuggets-worthy breakdown. Lastly, opener "Olio" will be pure heaven for those who secretly wished that Chicago house legend Larry Heard would one day swap out Robert Owens in favor of Robert Smith. These flashes of greatness don't quite add up to what could have been, but the album as a whole is still quite exceptional.

Biography

Formed: 1998 in New York, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Once hailed by some writers as the second coming of Gang of Four, the Rapture were the flagship band of the post-punk revival that swept through the indie underground during the early 2000s. Formed in 1998 by New Yorkers Vito Roccoforte (drums) and Luke Jenner (guitars, vocals), the band toured heavily before releasing a mini-album, Mirror, in 1999. More shows with the likes of Sunny Day Real Estate and Nuzzle followed; meanwhile, a string of bassists and keyboard players cycled through the lineup,...
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Echoes (Intl (EU) comm CD), The Rapture
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