The Rapture - In The Grace Of Your Love

Five years is a long time. The Rapture’s last album, Pieces Of The People We Love, came out almost exactly five years ago, on the same day Justin Timberlake released FutureSex/LoveSounds. Pieces never found anything like the exalted reputation as Echoes, the band’s previous album, but I loved the thing. Especially heard back-to-back with Timberlake’s album, Pieces felt like some euphoric starry-eyed reawakening of the white-guy disco impulse. Pieces and FutureSex were beautifully crafted party albums, total love-letters to dance music, and it’s pretty incredible that it’s taken either artist this long to come out with a follow-up.

Nobody in the Rapture had to take a break to star in The Love Guru or Black Snake Moan, but the band has been busy anyway, mostly working out its interpersonal kinks. Electroshock-voiced founder Luke Jenner quit the band, then returned again. Mattie Safer, the gawkily suave bassist who’d risen to co-frontman status on Pieces, quit for good. The band stopped and started the recording process a few times. And now that the end result is out in the world, it sounds like … a Rapture album. This is a good thing.

Weirdly, Safer’s departure doesn’t make a huge difference to the album’s sound. Like Pieces before it, In The Grace Of Your Love moves further away from the apocalyptic dance-punk of Echoes toward a sunnier, more psychedelic first single. The dance influences are still there, especially on the dope-as-fuck honking-house first single “How Deep Is Your Love?,” but they’re tempered and muted. Entire songs go by without the slightest hint of 4/4 beat. “Miss You” is a glam-informed stomp. “Blue Bird” and “Children” and “Roller Coaster” are all fizzy psych-garage with little in the way of Derrick Carter influence. Closer “It Takes Time To Be A Man” is a sprawling zoned-out ballad, a calmer and more gospel-informed equivalent to Echoes’ “Infatuation”.

The album still crackles to life most often when its dance influence is strongest, though. “How Deep Is Your Love?” is a hell of a first single, a wild-eyed rager with an out-of-nowhere sax solo that immolates everything around it. (Fun fact: The track shares a title with my favorite Dru Hill song, and its chorus melody seems to be stolen directly from Dru Hill frontman Sisquo’s immortal “Thong Song.” I have no idea what this means.) “Come Back To Me” builds its beat from a chopped-up accordion, and it reminds me a bit of Mexico’s Nortec Collective. The title track rides a scratchy guitar strut and an ethereal synth-bloop. These tracks are the work of a band who’s completely internalized all its dance influences, not one who makes a living by awkwardly forcing genres together.

The whole record keeps shifting and realigning itself, but it still comes together cohesively. Jenner’s yelp is less strained and paranoid than before; he’s older now, and he sounds it. And whatever it took to get the Rapture back together, they sound like three guys making music together fairly effortlessly. In The Grace Of Your Love doesn’t sound like a comeback album; it sounds like a strong piece of work from a band that never went away. And thank God. I don’t think I could handle it if the Rapture came back wack.

In The Grace Of Your Love is out 9/5 on DFA.

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Comments (18)
  1. With disappointing recent efforts from The Strokes and Interpol, I’m just glad that one of the bands from the early naughties is aging well.

  2. Been really enjoying this. Really glad they put “How Deep Is Your Love?” near the end of the album, good place for it.

    However, I can’t listen to this album without missing Mattie. His voice was such a great counterweight to Luke’s. Also the idea of The Rapture not playing “Sister Saviour” or “W.A.Y.U.H.” live is a huge bummer.

    They’ll be a furious three piece live.

    • “Also the idea of The Rapture not playing “Sister Saviour” or “W.A.Y.U.H.” live is a huge bummer.”

      So true. But I’ll still be there.

    • Yeah, I miss Matt Safer, too! Of all of the band members, he was the charming man, the Dave-Grohl-type of guy. In the “Get Myself into It” video he was the one who had the balls for risking awkwardness in doing those rollerskating moves. But he was so damn cool!

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  4. The best song off it in my opinion is “It Takes Time To Be A Man”, but overall it’s a pretty good album; better than Pieces of People We Love.

    • Agreed. The album doesn’t impress me much on the first spin, but the last two tracks (single How Deep and the soul-throwback It Takes Time) are amazing.

  5. I think it’s a damn fine piece of work, and the more I listen to it, the better it sounds. Luke’s voice has really come into its own, and the arrangements are consistently interesting. It also works as an upbeat Indian Summer companion piece to the more somber Girls album.

  6. Okay, I might have been unfair toward the reviewer, but for a so-called “pop” record ITGOYL is desparately devoid of memorable hooks; and what few memorable hooks it does have are memorable only because they’re annoying. It lacks the edginess of their first record and the tunefulness of their second, resulting in a near-catastrophic hodgepodge of melodies that are disparate to the point of agitation. Its one saving grace is “How Deep is Your Love” – the only song that even comes close to making me want to dance or sing along (not saying that’s what comprises a great album, but I think it’s obviously what ITGOYL [unsuccessfully] set out to be). Ultimately, it’s just a clumsy, awkard, shoddily-constructed album that will hopefully serve as a transition toward better, more interesting ideas.

    5.9

  7. “Miss You” sounds a whole lot like Yeasayer

  8. The record is growing on me, but you kind of need to adjust what you expect from a Rapture album. If they had said at the outset that this will be “a more mellow record, good for sitting at the beach,” it probably would have made a better first impression. That’s not their fault, obviously…

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