Live Music + Gig Reviews

The Rapture @ Islington Academy, London

5 September 2006

Saxophones, bongos, cow bells and slap bass gathering dust in the loft? Fear not. It’s time to wipe down your novelty percussion and yelp like your nuts are in a vice: The Rapture have returned.

Judging by the swath of guitar bands who have abandoned their scuzzy pedals and picked up a synthesiser, these guys are back to pick up on a legacy they helped to create. It couldn’t have come at a better time either. Police stormed in on an illegal rave in Essex last week. A certain music weekly is touring three of the countries new rave upstarts, and it’s getting as common to see glow sticks flying through the air at your local sweatbox as it is stale beer.

Ok, it’s not exactly 1989 all over again, but the spirit is there at least for a generation of kids who were too young to experience the rush of dance culture before the Gallaghers’, guitars, and gear ruined it. For those of us who can remember, it was reminiscing about music which made you move more than it made you think.

It might be difficult to remember amid all this enthusiasm and scene building of new wave that there were bands who breached the divide between the club and the gig long before the current crop. Certain bands are adept at crossing over and winning the hearts of both the indie and club kids, making music you’re just as likely to hear after a set at the Barfly as you would on The Essential Selection. New York’s Rapture can certainly lay claim to that title, fusing disco-funk guitars, bovine percussion and slap bass three years ago with Echoes.

Tonight is something of a showcase for second album Pieces of People We Love, hard evidence that the Rapture have turned everything up to eleven and programmed the pedals to party.

They’ve roped in Dangermouse and Paul Epworth to produce and come up with the soundtrack to late nights, later mornings and plenty of shape-throwing in between. Tonight they kick off with I Need Your Love – a slow burning, synth monster, which shows exactly what the Rapture do best: take a laid back funky bass line, whack some well-timed synth around it’s shoulders, shove it to the front of the stage and ask it to wail in time. Sister Saviour is close to mantra-like, building up to a crescendo that wouldn’t be out of place in a club at 3am. Epworth nods like the dog on the parcel shelf in approval.

But it’s the new stuff which promises to be the most exciting prospect. They might get the biggest cheer for House Of Jealous Lovers, but there is plenty more where that came from. Pieces Of The People We Love is a glam-funk, foot stomping sing-along, while The Devil is funkier than James Brown after a four hour show.

Mix this up with current single Get Myself Into It and it’s as if these are songs that have been around for years. They finish with The Sound, which does exactly what it says on the tin: four and a half minutes of metal guitar, building drums, distorted synths and a chorus that could level Islington and still have something left in the tank. It’s part rave, part indie and completely brilliant.

There might be a few jumping on the new wave bandwagon, but they had better be careful: the old boys are back, and they mean business.

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More on The Rapture
The Rapture @ 100 Club, London
The Rapture – In The Grace Of Your Love
The Rapture – Pieces Of The People We Love
The Rapture @ Islington Academy, London
The Rapture: “It’s about loving, having a good time, and having a party” – Interview