It’s been three years since Echoes defined 2003 (snicker), so although it’s not like MC Hammer releasing an album, the members of the Rapture have a lot of work to do to prove they aren’t just riding a wave from the first half of the decade that has no relevance in the second half. Obviously, this is completely unfair to a band that never asked to be trendy and whose members are now distancing themselves (intentionally or not) from the very DFA collab that made them indie high society’s It band. Pieces of the People We Love isn’t career-redefining, but everyone who downloads music illegally was right when they said the album sounds a little more like the Talking Heads but with loud guitars. Instead of altering the band’s image, the record does just the opposite: it maintains the Rapture’s reputation as a slightly-better-than-average band that will never be able to top its one truly great single, “House of Jealous Lovers.”
Sadly, there aren’t many new ideas here, and most tracks sound like other, better music. Danger Mouse provides two backing tracks, one of which is the mostly successful (although is that the drum beat from “Long View”?) title track, purportedly featuring a hidden Cee-Lo. The former Goodie Mobster must have given the group a copy of Still Standing, because “people don’t dance no mo’, all they do is this” appears to have swirled around in their head until they used it as the refrain for “Whoo! Alright-Yeah…Uh Huh.” Meanwhile, “First Gear” is an overlong techno ode to his red hot — I mean — Mustang Ford.
Two songs really succeed: opening hype track “Don Gon Do It” is fuzzy bliss, and first single “Get Myself Into It” is the closest the band comes to reliving past glory. But both are also the closest the record gets to DFA production, which raises the question: Why forgo collaboration with the best thing that ever happened to your band? If LCD Soundsystem‘s debut last year proved anything, it was that James Murphy could adapt to the times while still making a great record that was true to his sound. The Rapture has made a safe record with Pieces of the People We Love, so the quality doesn’t vary too much, unlike the peaks-and-valleys journey that was Echoes. But the Rapture just isn’t a good enough band to not shoot for the stars every time.