Words: Rajan Lakhani
The Rapture have returned with their first album in five years and it’s a far more intimate record than their previous output. This should be no surprise given the tumultuous personal times lead singer Luke Jenner has experienced since the release of 'Pieces Of The People We Love', which included the loss of his mother, a constant reference throughout the record.
Even though it will be impossible for the band to repeat the game-changer that was 'House Of Jealous Lovers', they declare their intentions from the start with Jenner repeating "don’t ever look back" in opener 'Sail Away'. Their dance-punk-funk hybrid was the go-to indie sound for many years and rather than claim back this sound, their music feels more like the comedown after the night before, recalling 80s new wave and early 90s commercial house. Although in some songs the various influences don’t quite click, it is on the whole a success.
'Miss You' is a primary example of when it does work as the glam-stomp of the beat is an effective juxtaposition to Jenner’s pleas to reconcile with those he has lost, while lead single 'How Deep Is Your Love' is a towering song, which builds effortlessly. Much has been made of the similarity of the chorus to Sisqo’s 'Thong Song' and I would like to think it’s a deliberate tongue-in-cheek reference.
'Never Die Again' is the funkiest song on the record and its matter of fact "Never Never Never Gonna See You/Never Never Die Again" chorus is more than a nod to early Talking Heads. They aren’t afraid to embrace new instruments and the French accordion in 'Come Back To Me' feels essential to the song rather than a novelty. Jenner himself has never sounded better as his voice soars, on the whole leaving behind the trembly, nervous yelps of earlier records.
What keeps the record from being truly astounding are some of the lyrics. It seems people are far more tolerant of lyrics in dance music and perhaps rightly so but that shouldn’t excuse some of the duds of this record. Whilst it’s welcoming to see Jenner opening up and bring emotion to what is often a genre that shies away from it, lyrics such as "There’s room in your heart/For excellence to take a stand" in final track 'It Takes Time To Be A Man' distract from what is a lovely way to close the record. When he is more direct, the record more than often hits the mark.
It’s difficult to imagine the difficulties Jenner has gone through and one hopes the making of a record so personal will have supported him through the healing process. 'In The Grace Of Your Love' is a more than worthy addition to The Rapture’s discography and makes for their most cohesive effort yet. It might not get the kids dancing but they simply aren’t that band anymore – and it’s a better record for it.
'In The Grace Of Your Love' is available to purchase from your local retailer, amazon.co.uk etc. Stream in full in the artwork widget above.