The Rapture have dusted off their creaky knees and sashayed back into the fray with In the Grace of Your Love.
In 2003/4 the Rapture lent youthful vigour to the DFA label’s dance-punk approach. Their first album, Echoes, was key in making danceable rock music cool again. House of Jealous Lovers was a huge single for anyone listening to alternative TV or radio.
In the intervening 8 years the band defected from DFA to Universal, released a second album that was even more schizophrenic than their debut and faded away in a whirling haze of personal problems and inter-band tension. The band’s lead singer, Luke Jenner, quit in 2008 and spent much of the following year playing softball and singing in a church choir. Their return now, five years after their last release, is unexpected and, for those who remember their earlier work with any fondness, slightly enervating.
So is this comeback any good? In a word, yes (and no, but we’ll deal with the yes first). The title track in particular is as good as anything they’ve released. A slow groove that steadily develops across its entire length without losing tension at any point along the way. Never Die Again is another funky track that holds the attention. Roller Coaster is a majestic and uplifting plea from Jenner to his wife to stick with him. Children is a celebration of Jenner’s own progeny.
The album lacks darkness. It’s hard not to point the finger at Luke Jenner’s new-found enthusiasm for gospel as the culprit for this. He seems determined to celebrate things. When done in sufficiently demented spirit this is hugely entertaining, as on the tracks above. For the rest of the album it’s a little mediocre.
Good effort overall though and a worthwhile return.