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Worthy of attention

The Rapture - Pieces of the People We Love
(Mercury Records)
4 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Dec. 12, 2006
The Rapture

Review by Andy Argyrakis

While The Rapture have been no strangers to the club scene starting with its self-released Mirror in 1999 and moving through the major label debut Echoes four years later, the group has yet to truly breakout to the degree it deserves. Sure, the dance drenched alternative/electronica outfit scored sweet touring slots (including support for Franz Ferdinand and a highly coveted Curiosa Festival billing alongside its heroes The Cure) but for some reason the New York foursome didn't blow up as one might have expected. Perhaps it was because members were still settling into their own artistic skin or maybe it was due to mixed reviews of Echoes, but regardless of the reasoning, Pieces of the People We Love will hopefully elevate The Rapture to much more notable heights.

The project nails the target throughout ten groove infused tunes that find the players much more comfortable with who they are yet never nestling into a comfort zone. Instead the gang unfurls an ambitious brew of brooding vocals a la Robert Smith, the synth-influence of Depeche Mode, with split production between Paul Epworth, Ewan Pearson and Danger Mouse. The group's broad bush strokes begin with "Don Gon Do It," which unloads with a thick fist of Beck-ish funk and singer Luke Jenner's convincing quivers. The title cut rolls out a more distorted, lo-fi framework that could clearly compete and probably overtake The Strokes' most recent material, while "First Gear" ripples with pulsating programming and a delivery that channels both Smith and Talking Heads' David Byrne.

Even with all these references to groups of yesteryear, listeners need not get the impression that The Rapture is merely copying the classics. While the guys certainly give credit where credit is due, there's something remarkably original about cuts like the darkly lit dynamics of "Down For So Long" and the cacophonic keyboard chills that provide a delicious irony to the title "Live In Sunshine." "Get Myself Into It" even adapts a soulful shuffle (in tune with the group's record historic label lineage), while the questionably titled "Whoo! Alright Yeah... Uh Huh" is the ultimate club call out tune, minus the corniness. Though this is the band's second CD in national contexts, it's far from the sophomore slump, but rather the exact opposite sure to supercharge an already blossoming career worthy of inflated attention.

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