The Rapture - Pieces of the People We Love
Review By: Joe

Oh, my god, you guys!! I've got the disco fever! It hurts so bad! The nerves lose control, causing the the feet to move uncontrollably and the hands to tie skates onto the feet and then the feet bring the body to a roller rink and then the feet move some more!! Also, you pee blood!

Now that I have filled the gross quotient, I will tell you to stay away from copies of The Rapture's new album, Pieces of the People We Love, because it is laced with the very fever we have just discussed. Unlike Anthrax's albums, which are just laced with lame metal. F-F-FAKE OUT!!!

I actually quite love these Rapture boys, but I never bothered to tell you people about my love because love is an embarassing and strange thing and also you pee blood. Hahaha, yeah. That's called a "callback" in the comedy industry. Isn't that terribly interesting? These paragraphs are pretty short.

I liked The Rapture before it was cool to do stuff like that, man. Well, not REALLY, because, I mean, the place I first heard them was in a scene of that fairly lousy movie that for some reason everybody I've ever met seems to have seen, The Rules of Attraction. I actually saw this movie in theaters and have walked in on people watching it NUMEROUS times, thereby seeing bits and pieces of it NUMEROUS times (bringing us back to how everyone has seen this nonsense). It's got so many horrendous gimmicks (show things in reverse much?!) and attempts at being shocking and/or deep (failing on both accounts pretty much resoundingly) and it's also got James Van Der Beek in one of the lead roles. For all intents and purposes, I should abhor this film entirely. For some reason, though, I can't. Some of it is totally tolerable and even somehow entertaining, I guess.

Oh, maybe this is why.

I don't get it, but there it is and this has very little to do with the review except to say obviously there was some decent taste on the part of somebody involved with the film as they chose to put The Rapture's "Out of the Races and Onto the Tracks" in one scene. I didn't even really remember it, but at the time I had a friend who was a horrible person and usually loved cheesy eighties new wave stuff, but once in awhile demonstrated a shockingly refined ear for the rock music and he remembered the song and downloaded it. I subsequently became infatuated (with the song, not my friend) and took to having to hear the number numerous times a day. I eventually bought the EP of the same name and, at the time, was fairly sure it was the best music I'd heard in a long time. Make no mistake, the title track is the most easily listenable thing on there and after that it gets a lot more noisy and punky and hurtful, but that's why I love it. I prefer my music to hurt a little bit. UNGH! MASOCHISM.

I eventually got a hold of The Rapture's first...EP...not-quite-an-album....thingy, Mirror. Now Mirror hurts just a bit too much. It's not awful and there's still stuff I love on it, but it's really low-fi and there's a lot of repetitious shrieking. The band was quite a different animal back then too; very little of the funk vibe they acquired later is evident (some of the drumming shows it off perhaps) and there's actually something of a gothic flavor to it. Note I didn't say goth, which consists of slow, boring basslines played by effeminate men, but gothic, mostly because they have a synth keyboard set up to sound like an organ. It sort of works, but it can also be very cheesy when it's clearly trying to sound all dark and it's, like, you know, synth.

To LURCH! forward again in time, after dilly-dallying around for like a bajillion years, The Rapture finally got around to releasing a full-length album, Echoes. Although this album wasn't HUGE-huge, it was big enough and it got its fair share of critical acclaim. Most reviews I've read seem to regard it as some major achievement, dubbing it with grandiose titles like, "BEST DISCOPUNK RECORD EVER!!!!!!!!!" I, however, was rather unimpressed with the album upon it's release. Reason being, a lot of the tracks on it were just reworkings of songs that they had recorded earlier in their career and, in my opinion, the original versions were superior (although this is untrue for the title track, "Echoes" because the old version of that is only slightly different and just plain not as good). On top of which, a lot of the other stuff revealed the new addition of a having a slight electronica sound going on and I must say I really didn't care for it.

I don't understand what this has to do with the band.

Although a lot of people seem to think Echoes was some kind of ULTIMATE AWESOME ACHIEVEMENT for this band, I think of it as more of a transition piece. They started out all noisy and gothic-y on Mirror, phased out the gothicness and added a bit of funk while still keeping the noise and the punk on Out of the Races and Onto the Tracks (again, my personal fave), then they decided they wanted to dance, dance, dance!!! on Echoes, but they weren't ready to go all out quite yet. Therefore, we have songs that sound like they should be played at a disco except there are a bunch of parts that are just noisy apparently so as to stop you from fully enjoying yourself. While I like Echoes more now than I did when I first heard it, I do still think too much punk was weeded out and it affected the record's sound negatively.

SO! With this new album (which took them three years to produce!), the way I see it, the band basically had two ways to go, either back to the punk, or forward to THE FUTURE OF DISCO. Yeah, I don't understand why disco has a future, but there it is. Well, against my better judgment (WHY DO YOU IGNORE ME, RAPTURE??), they went the disco route and, you know what, it works fine for me. In fact, I definitely like this album better than Echoes. The punk flava has been decreased exponentially, the lead singer barely ever shrieks anymore, and the electronica has been brought more to the forefront, but I guess if you're gonna go disco, go all the way, and this disco does the job well.

Some of the tracks, like the lead one "Don Gon Do It" are insanely great (even though it rips off of Parliament's "Flashlight") and the others are all good in their own ways, despite a few arguably poor choices (going "HIII!!" like Michael Jackson in "The Devil" just feels unnecessary to me). Also, another of my favorite tracks, "The Sound," feels as though it was included for people like me who are still all hung-up on the punk rock, because that's some noisy crap, and I quite enjoy it. Probably the only track I could more or less do without is "First Gear." I DON'T HAVE TO EXPLAIN MYSELF.

I'm sorry to have to bring this up, but this detailed diagram clearly demonstrates that, in such a situation, Karen O would totally eat The Rapture alive.

In my review of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' last album (which was the last music review we had on this site too, demonstrating just how crazy we are about the musak), I concluded by insulting The Rapture. Shame! Honestly, the insulting was more just there because I wanted to end the whole thing sounding really cool. To actually make a comparison, however, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs essentially reinvented themselves with Show Your Bones and did a brilliant job of it to boot. These Rapture boys have certainly not done that and the transition to this sound is far less than shocking. Still, although it's not nearly as great a composition, it's definitely a good time.

I saw another review of this album somewhere in which the reviewer said that this was a logical progression for The Rapture, but not the one he wanted them to go in. I'd have to say I agree. I would've loved it if they stepped backwards toward their Out of the Races days, but, whatever, if they're happy getting down in a fashion such as this and they're going to keep it at this level of quality, I'll go along with it.

So if you want to understand how it is that disco can actually be made good, rather than just lame, get a hold of this sucker. Oh, also, it's got a helluva lot of cowbell in it, for those of you who are still amused by that and it has the word "cunt" in it once for people like me who are still amused by that. I might also add that, far as I can tell, this album is being sold for ten bucks at all the places I've spotted it. I dunno what that's all about but, hey, thanks fellas. It is nice to know that even while I am going broke I can still catch the fever. OH NO, I HAVE TO PEE AGAIN! OHHH NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!


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