The Rapture - In the Grace of Your Love - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Rapture - In the Grace of Your Love

by Rich Morris Rating:6 Release Date:2011-09-05

So far, The Rapture have faithfully followed the typical 00s breakthrough band trajectory: Zeitgeist defining single, much-acclaimed album, unnecessarily long gap before underwhelming follow-up materialises, subsequent albums greeted by general "You still here?" shrug from once slavering populace. This is a bit unfair in the case of The Rapture, who always had more ideas and verve than say, Kaiser Chiefs or The Futureheads. However, it's hard to shake the 'meh' when listening to In the Grace of Your Love, even though most of it isn't actually half bad.

Matters aren't helped by opening track 'Sail Away', which sounds like The Killers on anthemic auto-pilot. If you gave up listening to the rest of the album on the evidence of this song, assuming The Rapture had hit creative rock-bottom with a resounding 'thunk!', well, I couldn't really blame you. But you would be wrong because things do improve from this early nadir. The best way to think of In the Grace of... is The Rapture having a stab at making some of the soul and vocal-led house which obviously inspires them. However, being a bunch of nerdy white boys with not a leather-lunged African-American diva among them, the band can't help but put a twist on things. Thankfully, there's no Mick Hucknall style beige-boy emoting going on here.

Second track 'Miss You' has a likeable Motown crunch to it and sounds like the song Franz Ferdinand wish they could still get away with writing (another band seemingly resigned to the law of diminishing returns). The following three tracks are where things pick up: 'Blue Bird' has some lovely glam guitar going on, and is thus very now; 'Come Back to Me' weds an accordion parp to a house beat, then throws in a yodel-ish vocal. Logic dictates it must be hideous - and yet! - it's actually not bad. The title track, meanwhile, is a minimalist smoulder-thon, at once sexy and twitchy, like a nerd making bedroom eyes at his Emma Watson poster while his mum scrapes his dirty pants off the floor.

'Never Die Again' finds The Rapture finally accelerating to a sprint, its funk verses and brass-saturated chorus very reminiscent of unfairly forgotten 80s jazz-pop act Rip Rig and Panic. It's one of the album's best moments and it's immediately followed by 'Roller Coaster' which sounds like Art Garfunkel pursuing a funk-pop direction and is shite on a stick. 'Children' is similarly unimpressive and is probably the album's most lacklustre moment, a total 'it'll do' tune.

Thankfully, the band get back on form with the hiss and pop of 'Can You Find a Way', which sounds like some Euro-house oddity mixed with no wave guitar skree, although that makes it sound better than it actually is. It's just better than what's gone before. Proceedings are rounded off with comeback single 'How Deep is Your Love?', which still resembles Sisqo's 'The Thong Song' to an unfortunate extent, and 'It Takes Time to Be a Man', a broke-down jazz-pop-FM rock thing which stumbles close to sounding like Maroon 5, which would obviously be unforgivable, but somehow repeats 'Come Back to Me's trick of being pretty decent.

Overall, then, this isn't a bad set of songs. It's not amazing either, but there's enough going on to convince you that The Rapture have been unjustly maligned in recent years. In the Grace of... is neither a pathetically muddled compromise (Klaxons' Surfing the Void) or a creatively bankrupt attempt at fleecing your remaining fanbase (Hello, Kaiser Chiefs!). So if you loved this band once, give the album a go. Or just buy the decent tracks off iTunes, as is the custom in these dizzying space-age times.

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