Punk funk, dance punk, punktronica, acid punk. Whatever the hell you want to call Echoes, the first record from the Rapture, you need to make sure you preface it with the word “outstanding.” The members of the Rapture are of that rare breed of musicians who are able to pick apart many genres of music and reassemble them into a cohesive whole that is clearly understood as something new. Working with Manhattan producers/deejays DFA (Death From Above), the Rapture was able to explore the studio as a means to musical collage. Combining elements of punk, dance, acid house, and others, Echoes weaves a complex path held together by the strength and tenor of lead singer Luke Jenner’s voice.
If Echoes is an overachieving first full-length, it signals that the Rapture is only going to get better. The most amazing part of this record is what was left off. The best art is often the result of the painstaking editing process, and all too often these types of investigations become too preoccupied with the studio and its innate ability to layer on track after track of sound. Not so here. Echoes may use varied sounds, instruments and samples, but what is not lost is the individuality of each, or the almost minimalist nature of the complete track. This quality, along with the lo-fi feel to the recording, is what gives Echoes its dance punk edge.
“The Coming of Spring,” fueled by a righteous baseline and guitar that reeks of the Minutemen, kicks your ass into a spastic fit of jerks and twitches. “Open Up Your Heart” is a beautifully haunting Beatles-esque number that highlights the eccentricity in Jenner’s voice. “Sister Savior” is a simple bass driven number that would surely cause chronic toe tapping even in Christopher Reeves, never mind the able bodied. Superman is gonna walk again some day my friends, and damnit if Echoes isn’t going to be part of the explanation. “House of Jealous Lovers” is such a minimal track, featuring only simple bass, guitar, percussion and Jenner’s voice. But somehow it has such impact that you are helpless to resist its power to get you on your feet.
Some will lump the Rapture in with the likes of the Faint and their predecessors of the ’80s synth-pop era, and with good reason. But Echoes carves a niche that crosses the boundaries of dance, electronica, punk, and house to create a truly unique sound in the modern landscape.