The Rapture: In the Grace of Your Love Review (Three Takes)
It can be difficult to gain a balanced perspective on an album after reading a single summary of the music. Bias can tilt a review, as can personal taste, history and just about everything else that is unique to the person writing it. So in an effort to offer an expanded perspective in such a medium, here are three reactions, three impressions, Three Takes on In the Grace of Your Love by The Rapture.
Michael Herriges (Midwest Broadcast)
The Rapture have been around for over a decade, but it seems as if the majority of that time has been spent not making music. It’s been five years since their last release. Furthermore, their history as a band has been nothing short of tumultuous, filled with interpersonal conflict between members — their one-time bassist/singer quit, and frontman Luke Jenner quit and rejoined. Despite their apparently inconsistent recording habits and lineup changes, the Rapture’s new album, In the Grace of Your Love, still successfully sounds like a Rapture album. And a good one at that.
In interviews Luke Jenner stated that he wanted to make a more positive-sounding album, so he studied gospel music and even joined a church choir. These influences are apparent throughout the album, primarily lyrically. Jenner’s songs touch on deeply personal topics — the loss of his mother and learning to be a father. This makes the album their most intimate yet, a true labor of love and mourning.
The album also continues on the path of 2006’s Pieces of the People We Love, straying further from their punk roots. Much of In the Grace of Your Love is variegated. Consecutive songs often sound like they don’t belong on the same album. The guitar driven “Blue Bird” segues right into the dance floor polka of “Come Back To Me.” The languid-psych of “Roller Coaster” transitions into the hook-driven synth-pop of “Children.” Of course there’s the absolute monster of a single “How Deep Is Your Love?”, powered by a disco piano loop and a glorious fuzzy bass line. The closer, “It Takes Time To Be A Man,” ends on a beautiful chorus of Jenner wailing “Hallelujah,” a final nod to the gospel impulse that drives much of the album.
The Rapture have grown gracefully since 2003’s Echoes. Jenner’s paranoiac wail of a voice is now more mature and melodic, but he hasn’t lost his knack for writing a great hook. The band’s signature punk sound is gone, but they still kept one foot on the dance floor. In the Grace of Your Love succeeds by showcasing the band’s new directions while still recognizing their past. It may have taken five years to get this far, but it’s good to have the Rapture back.
I am a giant DFA geek and was just about the target age when their big album Echos came out in 2003, but for whatever reason I have never fully connected with The Rapture during their heyday, and have never really caught on to their work to this day. Coming into their latest work In The Grace of Your Love pretty much neutral, I left feeling like I had just listened to the most hollow, generic indie rock album of the year. Sounding nothing like their dance floor filling DFA ilk, In the Grace of Love feels more like a less creative Yeasayer record or a less funky TV on the Radio LP pulled together will little creativity and less musical chops. From the lifeless “Miss You” to the busy but lackluster “Rollercoaster” to the hollow, cheesy faux soul funk of “Never Die Again,” the record feels like an extended test session that never delivers on any of the structural promises the genre jumping music could provide. The title track pumps a little life into the record, but for the most part each song served as an excruciating test to see if I could make it through the entire track before having to endure the next. I am starting to think I didn’t miss much back in 2003.