The Rapture iTunes Tracks

The Rapture

New York was again a thriving music city/state at the turn of the new millennium (the roots of The STROKES and YEAH YEAH YEAHS were sprouting through); and in INTERPOL, LCD SOUNDSYSTEM, TV ON THE RADIO, LIARS, RADIO 4 and of course The RAPTURE, fledgling indie dance-punk devotees were anticipating big things to come. Armed with sounds not too dissimilar to post-punk acts GANG OF FOUR, PUBLIC IMAGE LTD and The CURE, and formed in early 1998 by San Diego-raised Luke Jenner (vocals/guitar) and aspiring filmmaker Vito Roccoforte (drums), experimental punk group The RAPTURE released their debut 7-inch, `The Chair That Squeaks’ (flipped with a reading of The PSYCHEDELIC FURS’ `Dumb Waiters’), with Christopher Relyea (keyboards) and Brooks Bonstin (bass) in tow.
Although the year might well’ve otherwise been a washout while they acted as typical college students, a mini-tour led to Gravity Records dispatching an 8-track mini-CD, MIRROR {*6}; released in January ’99. The band’s blistering sonic assaults may not have been to everyone’s tastes, but they could not fail to grab some attention on the treacherous retrograde `Notes>>>’, track, plus `Olio’ and the Robert Smith-cloned title track. A tour supporting SUNNY DAY REAL ESTATE reached a wider audience.
A combination of drunken days and nights resulted in drug dealers burning down their house (TALKING HEADS anyone?), but venturing to New York, via Seattle (where they signed to Sub Pop), they dropped off Bonstin and Relyea along the way and found they’d a better affiliation with bassist/keyboardist Mattie Safer.
Although again there was room for improvement, a 6-track mini-set/EP, OUT OF THE RACES AND ONTO THE TRACKS (2001) {*7}, had punters championing them as leaders of the post-new wave revival movement. Produced by NY émigrés Tim Goldsworthy and LCD SOUNDSYSTEM’s James Murphy, The RAPTURE’s rollercoaster melodies were angular and ascetic; with Vito’s edgy drumming of his own discordant relevance to match that of Luke’s “sonic death” groove and Mattie’s bumpy bass. The opening title track was a screaming abdab of shocking pink, whilst the SONIC YOUTH-meets-SWANS `Caravan’ and `Confrontation’ were as bleak as a weekend in Bognor Regis.
Over the course of the next year, only one proper 12-inch single (`House Of Jealous Lovers’) was dispatched. And issued a few times to bolster their allegiance with Goldsworthy and Murphy’s DFA dance production pact, the group also became a proper “gang of four” with the inclusion of keyboardist Gabriel Andruzzi.
The RAPTURE kept the funky fusion in full swing when they signed a deal with Universal Records. And with “…Jealous Lovers” screeching a path to the Top 30 in the UK (on the resurrected Vertigo imprint), the drip-feed of prior 45s had finally resulted in their first full-length set, ECHOES (2003) {*8}. Thankfully with no side-long PINK FLOYD epic to speak of (only Jenner’s knotty CURE-in-a-bottle agenda), the funk-punk quartet still managed to maintain a spiritual GANG OF FOUR-meets-A CERTAIN RATIO-meets-POP GROUP appeal on such killers as `Open Up Your Heart’ and minor Brit hits `Sister Saviour’ and `Love Is All’. Although the set was ostensibly spiky and often relentlessly abrasive, the cinematic final track `Infatuation’ was hugely disappointing. That said, the album was a great reminder that the post-punk vehicle had still got enough fuel to keep it running for a good decade yet.
Subsequently swapping the DFA for the production pairing of Ewan Pearson and Paul Epworth (DANGER MOUSE was afforded two), 2006’s PIECES OF THE PEOPLE WE LOVE {*7} was another embraced by the Brits, but ignored in the States. It was clear that The RAPTURE were trying desperately to extricate their past sounds, though in replacing their off-tangent rhythms with a TALKING HEADS or PRIMAL SCREAM motif, their tactics created a musical stalemate. Safer’s vocal allowance was upped substantially, so much so that Jenner’s acerbic wails were limited. The LCD SOUNDSYSTEM-like `Whoo! Alright Yeah… Uh Huh’ captured The RAPTURE in sarcastic mode, though it was in `Get Myself Into It’ (a minor UK hit), `The Devil’, `Don Gon Do It’ and the CEE-LO-enhanced title track that stirred the loins.
Bypassing a rather unnecessary “Tapes” V/A mix-set that redefined what The RAPTURE might escape to in the future, summer 2011 saw the execution of their third, long-awaited full-set, IN THE GRACE OF YOUR LOVE {*7}; DFA were back on board. In the 5-year interim that saw Safer exiting, kingpin Jenner had become a father; lost his mother to suicide; converted to Catholicism; all life-changing events that could’ve made his lyrics go into an uber triage. In fact, several upbeat tunes were peppered alongside schizoid, cathartic episodes (e.g. `Never Die Again’ and the chant-astic, `Come Back To Me’), whilst the soaring `Sail Away’ opener and the MOBY-ish, gospel-inspired `How Deep Is Your Love?’ were full-on dance.
Without much of a fuss or bother, The RAPTURE closed shop in 2014. Vito & Druzzi formed their own act for the release of `Moon Temple’, though the latter title morphed into the nom de plume of Andruzzi for a handful of cosmic EPs. In the meantime, Vito founded Body Music, a duo alongside producer Benjamin “Bosq” Woods; 2017 unveiled the “Just One” EP.
Jenner re-thread his enthusiasm for producing records, and his main job was getting his own Seedy Films project off the ground, whilst still maintaining The RAPTURE was still alive and kicking. His wishful thinking was granted when the main trio (not Safer) re-formed in February 2019; they performed at the Just Like Heaven festival that May.
© MC Strong/GRD 2004-2006 // rev-up MCS Nov2019

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