Maybe he can't help sounding like The Cure's Robert Smith. Maybe he didn't mean to rip him off. I don't know. You don't know. Could be a mere coincidence that The Rapture lead singer Luke Jenner's singing style has gone from jittery and spazzed-out to ... well, there's really only one way to put it: sounding exactly like Robert Smith. Maybe this was not his intention, but that of DFA label heads and production masterminds Tim Goldsworthy and James Murphy, and Jenner simply obliged. Perhaps. It seems, after all, it was in the studio where the metamorphosis I mean, experimentation occurred.
Indeed it's fitting that the music would also shift to sound more Cure-like (for which we can thank/blame both The Rapture and their producers). But where's the line between blatant rip-off and careful recycling? What is the cure to this conundrum? I've become absolutely enraptured by it.
I've got it! It's how you feel, of course. How does the music make you feel? Does it slight you? Do you feel cheated? Or does it engross you to a point where finger pointing and name-calling fall by the wayside?
Yes, that's what I thought indeed-y I agree, I get lost in The Rapture's new album too. So lost, in fact, that Cure references leave me, withdrawing like sinking coins in a wish fountain.
On and off the subject, I've got to admit I am pretty disgusted at all the '80s comeback crap all these phony fashion-driven reenactments make me want to vomit. How quickly it all happened and how, even quicker, everyone jumped the bandwagon buying overpriced, cheap plastic earrings, overpriced, cheap ripped shirts, and overpriced, cheap-as-all-hell mullets made me even more ill. Why are music scenes in love with the irony of retro? Why is the superficial surface becoming increasingly more important than the feelings underneath? Bands are more interested in which skinny tie they'll wear onstage one night than in playing a set of genuinely good songs.
So it's just a little unfair that NYC's The Rapture will get tossed into this heap of '80s revival trash (though they're kind of asking for it), because they're truly hard-working artists, extending a whole lot of energy to make music that matters. And now, with Echoes, it's obvious they worked hard at not only changing their sound but also improving on their songwriting, recording (largely responsible for the change) and, of course, playing.
It seems blatant they named the album Echoes; after all, it certainly sums up the feeling of the 11-track recording. The textured, misty production wraps each song in a warm glow, pumping it with electrified waves of dance beats and pushing Jenner's authoritative wails to their most distant, howling edge. Fueled by wiry riffs, house beats and mood-setting piano, lead track "Olio" easily recalls The Cure's "Forest." The minimal, melancholy, urging "Open Up Your Heart" meanders on a jazz beat, high-pitched coos and sluggish piano plugging, forcing your achiest emotions to your gut. Full of claps and bells, the high-energy, spastic "House of Jealous Lovers" previously released as a 12-inch single last year first helped The Rapture round up heaps of praise at dance halls everywhere for their instant ability to get your body moving, or, like Jenner urges: "Get yourself together, shake, shake, shake." With scratchy guitar, suspenseful buildups, raw noise and Public Image Ltd.-like choruses, the erratic title track contains, interestingly, the least echo-ish feel and is most akin to the noisy spastic side of the group's Sub Pop EP, 2001's Out of the Races and Onto the Tracks. The hypnotizing closer "Infatuation" brings Jenner up close, singing softly and sadly in your ear while fragile acoustic strums and ultra-slow rhythms tug at you to come along, fall inside.
Yep, Jenner sounds precisely like Robert Smith, and even the instrumentation often recalls The Cure. But this is no cover band. The Rapture pull it off and then some. After all, only the good the real good get away with murder.