Review Summary: The Rapture’s latest album, In The Grace Of Your Love chips off the DFA dance-frenzied punk mosh they’re known for in exchange of propulsive disco anthems, day-glo rhythms and ambition.
If there’s one notable contribution that The Rapture championed in its 12-year career, it’s probably the decision to release “House of Jealous Lovers” back in 2002. The single was an underground smash that introduced post-punk revivalist sensibilities to mainstream attention, transitioning the dated 80s sound to a more melodic, dance-stomping breed. As a result, it birthed a new subgenre in indie rock, one that shared the same shtick and schlock of bands like LCD Soundsystem, Radio 4, and Death From Above 1979.
Nine years after the career-defining moment that was “House of Jealous Lovers” comes another killer track that would put The Rapture’s name back to the pedestal. ”How Deep Is Your Love”, the first single off the fourth studio album proves to be another gold mine in the band’s growing catalog. A spiritual hymn at best, “How Deep Is Your Love” finds The Rapture on a different territory, suavely retreading slinky piano chords, sax riffs, and Chicago house music for a complete makeover in style and form. It’s soulful and ominously personal, and it resonates the band’s newfound connection with God and Love - two universal subjects that the band seemed to unearth on their new record.
While The Rapture’s brand has been reduced to a once-prolific New York band that spawned “House Of Jealous Lovers” and pretty much will be remembered for that monumental single alone, their attempt for a career comeback has been embraced with open arms since announcing last year their return to DFA records - the label they abandoned after signing up with Universal Motown for their third (and underwhelming) release, Pieces Of The People We Love. The Rapture’s latest album, In The Grace Of Your Love chips off the DFA dance-frenzied punk mosh they’re known for in exchange of propulsive disco anthems, day-glo rhythms and ambition. General critical reception may not agree with me, I still think In The Grace Of Your Love serves as their best offering since Echoes, or probably much bigger of an album than that.
From the massive “How Deep Is Your Love” to the afro-funk strut of “Can You Find Away” and the epic, U2 tendencies of “Sail Away”, The Rapture has grown into a more confident collective that never had any difficulty transitioning to a retro-experimental band with a grasp for squiggly sounds and night club hedonism.
But more than the musical detour they managed to present in their brand new record, it is The Rapture’s masterful courtship with the universal concepts of love, heartbreak, and spirituality that makes In The Grace Of Your Love a mature affair of some sorts. In the album closer “Takes Time To Be A Man”, the closest thing of what passes off as a ballad, Luke Jenner sings with fervent restraint and is backed with a rousing melody, piano thumps and twinkling guitar stabs. The signature punk snarl is still there, but with lyrics intimating spiritual sentiments with maturity, it surprisingly works more as a gospel tune. Jenner shares, “And there’s a room at the mountaintop for everyone in God’s plan, so just trust in your brother.” It’s a statement so chilling and inspiring, a distinct quality that resonatesall throughout the album.
Sure, they completely abandoned the spirited fun and whimsy of the first three albums for an adult-leaning, dancefloor fodder that might just sound way too personal for most fans and critics to digest. But In The Grace Of Your Love need not to please your inner sensibilities. It’s a record that lifts you to places you might want to discover and rediscover, if you’ll just let the vibe conquer you.