“If this seal is removed you must contact the person who sent you this immediately.”
In this one line, written on a seal placed around the promotional CD of* The Rapture*’s second UK-released full length Pieces Of The People We Love, I found more amusement and interest than in the whole ten tracks it contained. It's hard to understand why such strict protection should be given to a release that no-one will want to hear the whole way through.
In case a diet of alcohol, harder drugs and reality TV has raped your brain of all mid-to-long-term memory, 2004 was the year the country was enraptured with The Rapture. Along with fellow Americans Radio 4 and !!!, the New York four-piece invaded our shores with an almost sickenly modern brand of dance-rock. Their breakthrough single ’House Of Jealous Lovers’ was the soundtrack to the summer of love that never was.
The reason they maintained popularity for months afterwards was that their album, Echoes, was a work of surprising substance, a huge fuck you at the critics that had labelled them one-hit wonders. The problem with its follow-up is that it also has a surprising amount of substance: none whatsoever.
It's hard to fathom how far the band have fallen artistically, even with the release of taster single ’Get Myself Into It’, a hideously bland reworking of the same flavour they peddled two years ago. Digitised mid-tempo tom hits, whining yet emotionless vocals, perfectly produced disco-guitar slaps; The Rapture have kept all the ingredients from their previous successes, but they have forgot to ignite the oven. Things become more depressing when you realise the aformentioned single is one of the album's highlights. ’First Gear’ and the title track are songs so run-of-the-mill that Phoenix would disregard them as b-sides.
Many bands take you places with their music. Bands like Guillemots, British Sea Power and Larrikin Love take you to naïve, twisted versions of our own fair isle, while at close to the other end of the spectrum Low take you ten thousand leagues below the sea to a lonely cloister of black ice. Similarly with The Rapture you can picture yourself outside of your room, but unfortunately only as far as your nearest Topman store. For, in the end, that is the only purpose of Pieces Of The People We Love: to act as an inoffensive soundtrack to some mundane commercial decision-making. If you want to party like it's 2004, you better substitute the vodka for chloroform. You have been warned.
3Jordan Dowling's Score