The Rapture: Echoes

I've been living inside The Rapture's latest release (on Universal/Strummer/DFA Records) Echoes. My days have been spent with these eleven songs serving as an aural padded room; A soundtrack to the monotony of work, quiet evenings and debaucheries of nightlife. It seems that I'm not the only one infected - in addition to looping in my head, I can hear the songs out of peoples cars and apartments, clubs and bars, coffee shops and hipster establishments - you name it. Even if they're lacking a more powerful media/advertisement tornado experienced by fellow New York City bands (The Strokes/Interpol/Yeah Yeah Yeahs), the public seems to have decided for themselves that The Rapture is a righteous force in today's music.

Shortly after disbanding their duties in new wave band, The Calculators, guitar player/singer Luke Jenner and drummer Vito Roccoforte birthed The Rapture early in 1998. Then residing in San Francisco, they released their first record "Mirror" in 1999, and touring in support of it with bands like Sunny Day Real Estate, they relocated to a shock of a city called New York. It was there that the duo found themselves without a bass player, but soon added to their line-up further establishing their sound with DC relocate Matt Safer. In 2002, another member was added - Safer’s cousin – a multi-instrumentalist on sax, keyboards, and percussion named Gabriel Andruzzi.

From shitty shows in Vancouver strip joints to unified rooms swelling with rock n’ roll vitality in Omaha, The Rapture switched between touring and recording. Establishing their fan base and experimenting with different sounds, they released a slew of EPs on labels like Gravity, Sub Pop, Output, GSL and even an Tour Support CD. ("Another time someone said we sounded like Gang of Four fucking The Who up the ass," said Safer.) It wasn’t until the release of their 12-inch record "House of Jealous Lovers" in 2002 that fans and critics came to terms with their affinity to The Rapture. The sloppy mix of disco and post-punk that the song exudes engulfed dance clubs worldwide, and created a thirst for the band's next full-length release.

Having been compared to Suicide, the Cure (due to Jenner's Robert-Smith-doppelganger-vocals), Joy Division, and Television – the band's sound seems to be all over the map. It's clear they suffer a nostalgia for the aforementioned bands and then some, but to their credit – they are an impressive group of songsmiths.

"It's really important to have a unified vision," reveals Safer about their writing process. "That can come from one person who kind of guides it along, listening to a specific record, or from random chance. Some songs take an hour, some songs take months."

"Olio" their latest album "Echoes’" opener draws you in with its house music influence and sonic finesse. It's very much what will make your feet head towards the dance floor and oscillate wildly when you show up alone to a dark and smoky club. "I Need Your Love" and "Heaven," among a handful of others on the record, are more akin to The Rapture most are familiar with – layers of sloppy guitars and vocals yet having a tight and steady rhythm. Perhaps this is due to the help of The DFA (A New York production duo famed for offering up a candid and robust, electronically lo-fi sound saturated in the 80s music revival). Not being ones to be predictable, the band included the album’s closer "Infatuation" – a song worthy of becoming a track on a David Lynch film, while "Love Is All" sounds like a mod band emulating The Beatles as earnestly as they can.

"There are great things, beautiful things that come out of a super-polished, structured, controlled tight recording environment," comments Safer on their trademark disorderly post-punk dance revolution. "But it's real easy to fuck up and end up with a record that would have been better if you had just taken a tape recorder to practice and pushed it out that way."

However created, people are content in living inside "Echoes’" eleven tracks. Like many others, I expect that their January 2004 release of “Sister Savior” on Universal Records will be equally as habitable and impressive. Perhaps comfort lies within knowing that on “Echoes” - from start to finish there are songs to wake up to or dance with your hair swinging wildly, fall in love or fall asleep to – now who wants more out of life than that?

-Celeste Tabora, 12/2003
Related Downloads