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Record Review: The Rapture’s In The Grace Of Your Love

By / Posted on 07 September 2011

The Rapture - In The Grace of Your LoveAnd lo, the prodigal sons do return.

The Rapture, a Brooklyn band widely accredited with the formation of the dancepunk movement of the early aughts, first broke it big with “House of Jealous Lovers,” which itself was one of the first big singles for DFA Records, the soon-to-be-massively-influential record label headed by James Murphy years before the blogs embraced his LCD Soundsystem sideproject. Having already flirted with nervous punk at Sub Pop, Murphy and DFA transformed The Rapture into the funkmasters of the groove with 2003’s Echoes, launching both the band and the label’s careers to stratospheric new heights. 2006’s Pieces Of The People We Love was a departure on paper alone, as producers Paul “Phones” Epworth and Danger Mouse maintained the everybody-get-up-and-dance vibe that maintained a sound entirely of-the-moment rather than looking back or forging ahead.

Now, 2011, The Rapture are back at DFA. Producer Phillipe Zdar has experience with timeless dance pop, as evidenced by two Phoenix albums, one album each for Cut Copy and Chromeo, and his own remarkable output as half of Cassius. The final product, In The Grace Of Your Love is a well-earned step away from the band’s perceived comfort zone – a danceable record that actually comforts. It sets a pace for the future of the band, and perhaps the scene they inadvertently started, by embracing their roots and their influences more than ever before. No longer the whiny kids who thrash their guitars and clang cowbells to drown out their confused feelings, The Rapture know how to take their time, make a statement, and stand by it confidently rather than hope the kids are dancing instead of looking quizzically at them.

“These people,” Luke wails on the edge of tears, “they don’t know how it feels with you.” In The Grace Of Your Love is the most openly emotional album yet from a band famous for making hipsters stop being such fucking hipsters, loosen up, have a good time, and dance. The focus has shifted away from dancing (though there are still more traditional dancehall anthems in “Come Back To Me,” “Never Die Again,” “Can You Find A Way?” and the disco-throwback single “How Deep Is Your Love?”) and more towards timeless pop and soul. Closer “It Takes Time To Be A Man” is possibly the most perfect soul jam ever recorded by three white dudes jetsetting between Brooklyn and Paris, complete with saxophone blasts and echoed chants of “hallelujah!”

The album as a whole is paced perfectly for the listener’s emotional arc as well. The slowly-building tour de force of the title track centralized in the experience, preceded by a series of comforting foot-tappers and head-nodders, then followed up by the high-energy disco throwback “Never Gonna Die Again,” and cooled off with the comparatively calm and tame “Roller Coaster” before the victory lap of celebration and enthusiasm that is “Children.” The fact that there are still three tracks left after this, and that they are three of the most enjoyable tracks in The Rapture’s discography, is icing on the already satisfying cake that is In The Grace Of Your Love.

One multi-instrumentalist down, The Rapture sound tighter than ever as a trio. In The Grace Of Your Love is an album that was a long time coming, but worth the effort and an album that the band deserves. They’ve already got a healthy backcatalog of proven rump-shakers, now live sets can feature some more stolid soulful croons, coupled with even more block-rockin’ beats. The boys can take their time with whatever they do next, because clearly they’ve learned enough to make the right decisions for their art rather than just do what makes them money.

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Derrick Sanskrit has produced critically-acclaimed work as an artist and writer for Nerve, Babble, Pitchfork, The Onion and the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, among others. He founded The Pop Aesthetic during the coldest months of his life in 2010.