Review Summary: Based very much on texture, this sophomore album breaks free of the post-punk comparisons and instead expands on the catchy dance-punk found in some songs on their debut.
It's all the same, isn't it? Franz Ferdinand? Bloc Party? Interpol? The Rapture? Some - for one, myself - would disagree with the statement, but considering their influences, its not hard to cut their whole shtick down to the influence of a few bands. In their debut, Echoes
, the band strive to create some of the best, danciest, and catchiest nu-post-punk songs they could write. On this release; however, the band really comes into its own. The biggest change can be seen in the curious lack of guitar riffs from most of the album (notable exception - "The Devil"), which are instead replaced with synth-basses, synthesized riffs, and other instruments which begin with "synth". The guitar is still present, but mostly for emphasis, and not rhythm or melody.
As well, it appears that lead singer Luke Jenner has almost completely shaken off the influence of Robert Smith on his vocals, instead replacing them with yelps and moans of a most !!!-type. But he retains his individual, playful attitude, which fuels songs like the title track, with a sneaky beat that speaks of secret agents in dark nightclubs - good stuff. Another place in which Mr. Jenner's vocals shine through is on arguably the most fun song on the album, the ironically titled "Whoo! Alright-Yeah...Uh Huh." The song embodies the whole album in a single lyric - "People don't dance no more/they just stand there like this/they cross their arms and stare you down/and drink and moan and diss".
Unfortunately, the whole album doesn't seem to follow this dance-theme all the way through. The misinformed, Jack White-aping blues workout "Callin' Me" is an occasion where it probably would have been better to leave their aesthetic standing instead of playing Detroit Motor City Blues. Without substance, catchiness, or interest created, this song fails. This is a running theme in the second half, which seems much weaker than the first. An insipid, uninspired semi-ballad by the name of "Live In Sunshine" closes the second half quite half-heartedly.
But where the guitar works, it really works. "The Devil", the only trace of Gang of Four left on the album (in the bassline and angular guitar riff), works because of its dueling synth-and-guitar approach, as well as Jenner's breathless, sexual, fun vocals, all of which, when put together, create an unforgettable, enjoyable listening experience, which will make you tap your feet, if not jump on the table and let loose.
The Rapture's defining album definitely doesn't suffer from the sophomore slump, mostly because of its new, driving, direction which takes it places the band was not willing to on their debut.
Don Gon Do It
Whoo! Alright! Yeah...Uh Huh
Live In Sunshine
Down For So Long