September 28, 2006

A Worthy Return

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Dancepunk is a tricky thing to write a review about. As a genre, it became almost instantly self-parodic, when it exploded so quickly that so many new bands were created and the distinct sound that characterized dancepunk became so watered down that the dancepunk ruptured like a supernova. The Rapture took the brunt of this explosion, as one of the most prominent dancepunk bands at the time. Now, with Pieces of the People We Love, they try to redeem themselves in the eyes of the public. Such a redemption is, of course, unnecessary. The Rapture always have, and prove with their new album that they will continue to, produce solid, foot-tappin’ dancepunk.
Pieces of The People We Love opens with a grammatically incorrect but musically almost perfect track, “Don Gon Do It.” The first words are “High, high as the sky,” hurled with almost a call-to-prayer-like velocity and loftiness. After listening to the rest of the album, I determined that such words were, in fact, at least a call to action, and after following their advice, listened to the album again. Listen to the Rapture, children. Heed their advice. But read the rest of this first.
The third track “Get Myself Into It” has been the song usually used to represent the album as a whole. In it, the Rapture pull immaculate Talking Heads-like, punk to funk transitions and achieve And although I’d take the Talking Heads over the Rapture any day, I forgive them when this all culminates in a perfectly funky but still dancepunky track “The Devil” “The Devil” climaxes in a beautifully ridiculous panting orgasm by Luke Jenner. The album then kicks into its highest gear (and my favorite track, but mostly because of its title) “Woo! Alright-Yeah … Uh-Huh.” WAYUH keeps the funky vibe, but pumps up the energy enormously.
The Rapture clearly have a sense of fun. The track-title “Woo! Alright-Yeah … Uh Huh” is deliciously silly, and you can hear Luke Jenner enjoying the ridiculousness of lyrics like “People don’t dance no more/ They just stand there like this/ They cross their arms and stare you down and drink and moan and piss.” Another track, “The Sound,” features one of the best uses of the cowbell yet. That cowbell rocks out — and it’s so great. The Rapture are so tongue-in-cheek, it’s almost tangible. I’m a big fan of all things ironic, but especially ironic music like this.
Surprisingly, two of the weakest tracks on the album are the two produced by Danger Mouse. They are the two lowest energy tracks on the album, and because the rest of the album is so hyped up, the Danger Mouse tracks really stand out in a negative way. Unfortunately, they flank two of the strongest tracks – “Don Gon Do It” and “WAYUH.” It’s a bit of a downer to hear these tracks follow such strong ones, and really puts holes in an otherwise great album.
I’m not enraptured with this album, but I dig Pieces of the People We Love a lot. This is another album I’d recommend listening to at a super high volume … or, better yet, mildly intoxicated.