The Rapture on In The Grace of Your Love, "Dance-Punk," and the Last Decade
It's been five years since the Rapture released a new album and six since the band toured. So yes, you can call the group's new joyously jangly and danceable studio album, In the Grace of Your Love, and its current headlining tour a comeback of sorts.
But despite all that, in the long gap after 2006's major-label Pieces of the People We Love, the band was continually working, says drummer Vito Roccoforte. After touring to support the 2006 disc, frontman-guitarist Luke Jenner quit and came back; bassist-singer Mattie Safer quit, period; and the group enjoyed a radio smash in Australia (for the video game-only release "No Sex For Ben"), all while attempting to continually write music.
But it was Safer's departure in 2009 that led to a clean break with the past and a recharged surge of writing energy that would become In The Grace of Your Love. Of course, in the ensuing years, the musical landscape was reshaped in significant ways.
When the Rapture first appeared in the late '90s, dance music and the DIY aesthetic had never met. But these days, club beats crossed with party rock are ubiquitous. Enough time has passed, in fact, that the band is now hailed as major forerunners of the so-called dance-punk movement, a label from which the group has always shied away.
"It just sounds weird to me. If someone said, 'Hey, check out this dance-punk,' I don't think I would be excited about that," says Roccoforte. "But it's true, when 'House of Jealous Lovers' came out [as a single in 2001, and on the group's breakout 2003 album Echoes] or even before that, what we were trying to do just wasn't happening in the indie or punk music culture. Nowadays, it's not even a second thought."
Luckily, though, on the new record, the Rapture hasn't tried to fix what isn't broken. If the new material is a little less heavy on the punk part -- Jenner's yelping vocals have pitched down, for one -- it's perhaps even heavier on the groove. Lead single "How Deep Is Your Love" is a live disco shake-out, full of build-ups pegged on Roccoforte's swinging drum work and even a killer saxophone breakdown.
In concert, the payoff is extended, and that sort of building up and breaking down of dance-floor tension is characteristic of the band's show as a whole. "We approach it as a DJ set, so it builds and then has peaks and flows in different ways," Roccoforte explains. "We're constantly messing with and tweaking the setlist. Live, we just try to have a big party."
The Rapture with Poolside and DJ Essential 6. Monday, October 17. Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets cost $20 plus fees fla.vor.us. All ages. Call 305-377-2277 or visit grandcentralmiami.com.