I jumped in absolutely blind on this one. Caught up in the moment of reading Pitchfork Media’s Top 50 Albums of 2003 list, I rushed out to Best Buy and bought The Shins, The Postal Service and The Rapture. I had never felt so trendy in my life. Not only owning all those CDs, but buying them simultaneously. The Rapture topped the list at number 1, beating The Postal Service, Radiohead, and many other well received albums of the year. I had never heard of The Rapture, but was tipped off by a friend that their CD Echoes was indeed a great CD, and that I would like it. Being open to any type of music, especially good music, I went out and bought it without doing any research about the band to find out what kind of music they played, and just trusted that they were going to be good.
First track. Starts off not so bad, I could tell that this CD was going to be…different. Its repetitive electronic keyboards, drum machine beats, and a dance hall feel sounds like they could be reproduced fairly easily with freeware techno programs. That’s not a good sign. 46 seconds in. Crash and burn. One of my pet peeves about bands in general: a whiney lead singer. He has that voice that sounds like he’s straining all the time – always singing out of his range, and dangerously close to cracking his voice. With that being said about the singer, I knew that I was going to be in for a rough ride unless the music pulled out all the stops to sway me the other way.
To my disappointment, the music didn’t pull out all the stops. I really did want to think that I had bought the best CD that 2003 had to offer (according to Pitchfork), but I often wonder what reviewers are listening to. Each song features one simple rhythm and or riff, and sticks with it throughout the entire song. I got bored with the songs fairly quickly and easily. One thing that I do have to say about the style of music is that it’s very raw, and not studio perfect. Sometimes this is a good thing because I don’t want to hear polished stuff all the time, but then again, tighten up! In their live act this could work to their advantage, or make them worse (I’ve heard that they’re worse). The guitars are super-twangy, and introduce some interesting guitar strumming patterns, but I couldn’t see myself listening to Echoes repeatedly.
It’s taken me quite a few spins to get to this point, but I’m thinking I might be close to not being able to gain any more love for The Rapture’s latest CD. It’s an interesting attempt, and might please some of the more forgiving music lovers out there, but I couldn’t latch on to many of the songs. The combination of headache-inducing vocals and sub-par electronic loops wore me down, and never won me over. If you must – downloaders download: Olio, I Need Your Love, House of Jealous Lovers. Don’t say you haven’t been warned…