Echoes seduces from the outset: the re-recorded “Olio”, the latent Curey tech-mope once wriggling to be free from the shitty post-hardcore recording quality made gloriously explicit. Then “Heaven”, brittle guitar raunch, closer to what you “expect” The Rapture to sound like. “Open Up Your Heart”, unexpected like its title, a wilting piano ballad. And then “I Need Your Love”, rock song of the year if you can even call it that.
“I Need Your Love” is, for all intents and purposes, a disco song. (We call it house music these days, blame the British.) Chattering sequencers, warm lugubrious synths, that metronomic tick-tock boom-tick, & not a guitar in sight. Never has Tom’s “it’s like they found some secret bunker full of stale 1979 air and have been reverently recording in it since” been more and less apt. On the one hand, this is not “house music” in the sense that you could expect to find it on the next Ministry of Sound comp. (Although it’s only one remix and bongo breakdown away from being there.) On the other, it’s not heritage-disco either. (Which is why it’s been appearing on the more outré house comps this year.) Like electroclash, The Rapture has figured out a way to make retro-leaning music which stands apart from whatever the great modernist project of the year is (gutter garage, micro-whatever) and yet could have never been made in any other moment but this one (A Certain Ratio never got on such a good foot as The Rapture does here, just like electroclash’s neuter vocals would have never made it in 1982’s arch-pop landscape.)
(Oh, album of the year so far, btw. In case you hadn’t figured that out.)