The Rapture In the Grace of Your Love

[DFA; 2011]

Rating: 2/5

Styles: dance pop née dance punk
Others: Cut Copy, Yeasayer, Hot Chip, MGMT

The Rapture’s fourth album begins with a showstopper; not in the sense that “Sail Away” is a great song — although it certainly is — but that the rest of In the Grace of Your Love’s can’t avoid having a “move along, folks, nothing more to see here” feel to it. Sure there are a few bright spots amid a fairly dim album, but too few to redeem In the Grace of Your Love. The diverse range of genres represented here might indicate a lack of focus on the part of The Rapture; often it feels like the band doesn’t even recognize its own strengths. Case in point, even “Sail Away” is soured slightly by a droning coda that undercuts the glorious tension and release of the three minutes that precede it. By the time the double-timed drumbeat of “Miss You” kick in, any remaining goodwill is smothered in that song’s milky, off-date funk.

There are mild pleasures to be had, as long as listeners are willing to proceed through the album with tempered expectations. “Rollercoaster,” at first jittery and numbing, eventually builds into a terrific glam rock climax. In the Grace of Your Love’s title track is well-constructed, though Luke Jenner sounds like he’s putting on a serviceable Alexis Taylor impression, one lacking the geeky, chicken-necked conviction of the Hot Chip lead singer. “Never Die Again’s” disco revivalism is refreshingly straightforward and sounds like 2004 in a generally positive way. The long-moribund indie rock obsession with the purity of youth yields effective results on “Children,” a forthright bit of synth pop, as anthemic as it is uninspired.

Unfortunately, juvenilia rears its head more than once. “Aren’t we all children?” Jenner asks on “Come Back to Me,” an insipid — and to be frank, awful — Balkan-trance hybrid. Great albums are often judged by their weakest songs, and so it’s only fair that mediocre — though hardly offensive — albums be considered by the same measure. “Come Back to Me” is one Bob Sinclair remix away from being anything anyone — even non-discerning Ibiza vacationers — would enjoy, let alone slog through for nearly six minutes. This nadir is ultimately the most memorable portion of a flimsy and disposable album, the song that best sums up the quality of In The Grace of Your Love. It’s an aggravatingly half-hearted effort, the very opposite of a highlight, a song that drags down the average of an already mediocre record.

Links: The Rapture - DFA

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