Rapture: Beat Transformation
story by tim mcmahan
Lazy-i: November 18, 2003
w/ Beans, The Locust, Underwater Birth
Friday, Nov. 21
13th & Martha
$8 adv./$10 DOS
Andruzzi, saxophone / percussionist for The Rapture, doesn't agree
that there is a clear-cut division between the old, no-wave Rapture
and the new and improved dance-band version.
insists that the band didn't go out of its way to create a dance
vibe on their new album, it just sort of happened that way.
"I don't see a super-clear
line between the two styles," he said via cell phone from Portland,
Ore. "I've always seen them as generally kind of bouncy, even
before they used electronics."
But anyone who's heard
the band's 6-song Sub Pop debut, Out of the Races and Onto the
Tracks, and Echoes, their just-released full-length on
Strummer/Universal Records, knows exactly what I'm talking about.
of the Races spans the short distance between a loose, Gang
of Four-style punk groove and an assaulting, jumbling noisefest.
The EP's ironically titled track, "The Pop Song," is a
dissonant howler that circles around whiner/vocalist Luke Jenner's
ear-splitting screech of "You're growing older." The CD
combined the gritty, emerging NYC punk sound of bands like The Liars
and the experimental art rock of Les Savy Fav.
On the other hand, some
songs on Echoes verge on runway music or something you'd
hear in the background during "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy."
Track "I Need Your Love" is pure disco thump-thump-thump
and sassy syncopated keyboards. Club hit "The House of Jealous
Lovers" is backbeat dance riffage with a pulsing bass. The
common denominator between old and new Rapture is Jenner's screech
vocals, which, while grating in the old, art-school punk days, becomes
almost endearing if not downright infectious when placed atop the
title track's beat-drop bass and backbeat handclaps.
"There are a lot
of expectations for bands to have one definitive way of doing things,"
said Andruzzi, who admits he first knew The Rapture as a "New
York kind of scroggy punk band." The cousin of bassist/vocalist/keyboardist
Mattie Safer, Andruzzi joined the band in July 2001.
"When we were recording
Echoes, we were thinking back to albums we liked that don't
have the same sort of songwriting on every track; records by Roxy
Music and David Bowie. I don't think our record is clear-cut dance
or punk. There are songs that fall outside those categories. We
wanted to kind of experiment in the studio to see what we could
do. We weren't trying to do just one thing."
don't think our record is clear-cut dance or punk. There are
songs that fall outside those categories."
a way, we make it hard for ourselves because not all of our
songs are dance songs."
them experiment were producers Tim Goldsworthy and James Murphy,
who go by the name The DFA. The duo has worked with such acts as
U.N.K.L.E., Radio 4 and BS 2000.
The result of their collaboration
were songs like the dance-floor favorite "House of Jealous
Lovers," that has helped push Echoes to No. 5 on last
week's College Music Journal Top 200. What do the band's
old-school punk fans think of the new direction? "People go
both ways," Andruzzi said. "Some embrace it and others,
especially the people who like older punk-sounding stuff, don't
like certain aspects of it. It's nice when people like it all."
The CD's dance vibe doesn't
necessarily permeate the band's live show. Andruzzi said don't come
to Sokol Underground Nov. 21 expecting some sort of glorified dance
party. "We want to create a joyous vibe on stage," he
said, "but we can't hold up an hour-long dance show. We try
to play a catalog of songs, from ballads to stuff that people can
dance to. But we don't have a manifesto dance party. In a way, we
make it hard for ourselves because not all of our songs are dance
The Rapture has had plenty
of time to hone their live show, having toured on and off since
last spring, recently finishing a tour in Europe and Brazil. They'll
finish this tour around Thanksgiving, then hit the East Coast and
Canada. Andruzzi said there's a stronger dance culture in Europe,
where "House of Jealous Lovers" was quickly embraced by
DJs who have the power to sway opinion. "People know who the
DJs are over there."
After almost a year on
the road, Andruzzi sounds like he's ready for a rest. "New
York City is my home. If I was there all the time, I'd want to get
the hell out. But it's my home, and I miss it."
Published in The Omaha Reader Nov. 19, 2003.
Copyright © 2003 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.