The Rapture may have coined the minimalist dance rock that LCD Soundsystem made famous, but they certainly didn't get to reap the rewards themselves. The band had a few major label albums, but nothing that propelled them beyond the initial kineticism of their early (and arguably only hit with staying power) "House Of Jealous Lovers". Turns out they were meant to stay there in the same mucky plateau as other early aughts, New York darlings with a taste for drums and drum machines, writing songs that didn't reach for the stars. In The Grace Of Your Love
brings the band back in a polite fashion, documenting leader Luke Jenner's transition from rock and roll kid to father/husband, and bringing the band back to their underproduced, raw and emotional roots. The sound suits them.
Funny that their underproduction comes from a big shot like Phillippe Zdar (Phoenix), who helped usher some well-known Frenchies from exotic import to Madison Square Garden headliners. Zdar clearly let the band have its way with Grace
, and for good measure. Above all other things, the album reads as refreshing and authentic, and part of that is the frequency of certain sounds (saxophones and cowbells to name a few). The band still has its signature aesthetic, maintained through several rounds of producers (and the loss of bassist Matt Safer). And they demonstrate a youthful vigor many ten-plus year-old bands tend to drop without any sort of major success.
In The Grace Of Your Love
doesn't try to pull any punches. From the very sombre opener "Sail Away" to the proton-packed "How Deep Is Your Love?", grooves and claps abound, with Luke Jenner's raw tenor carrying familiar cries to new heights. "Never Die Again", like so many other cuts, sticks to the faux aughts-disco rock that made the band distinct, and tightly hones their ability to spin the dubstep tempo without any of the boring dubstep bass cheat-codes. Faster moves along the way encourage even more head-nods and harmonies. "Can You Find A Way?" gets the blood pumping, and "Come Back To Me" has a delightfully cryptic refrain that never seems to get old as the track morphs behind it.
But the triumph of the band's Grace
comes in the form of the single "How Deep Is Your Love?"; a six-and-a-half minute skyscraper built on a nifty keys riff and a simple four-chord progression. The lyrics lay low, the refrain of "let me hear that song" in the middle register, and , with complexities of the backdrop stripped away, the penultimate title cry "how deep is your love?" reaches a high point of melody; a perfect representation of the underlying composition's escalation and release. When the refrain comes back in, the serotonin rush is almost enough to forget the echoes of Sisqo's infamous undergarment anthem in the chorus.
In The Grace Of Your Love
is another example of the pleasures of keeping a chemically satisfying band together, despite a decade of almost-but-not-quite mainstream breakage. Their attention to danceable, singable disco-chaos is their greatest asset, and although not enough people will realize their saxophone trumps the all-consuming nonsense of Gaga, The Rapture just isn't a stadium pop band. And that's the way we like it.
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MP3: "How Deep Is Your Love?"