In the Grace of Your Love
Spiritually uplifting indie dance music? Weird…
That was my reaction as well on first listen of In the Grace of Your Love, NYC dance-punk outfit The Rapture’s fourth album and first following a five year hiatus, but The Rapture actually make the mix fit like a glove. Following 2006’s commercially viable Pieces of the People We Love, front man Luke Jenner had an eventful half-decade; becoming a father, losing bassist Matt Safer from his band, and far worse, losing his mother to suicide. From these experiences, Jenner converted to Catholicism, and the lyrics on In the Grace of Your Love reflect this conversion and his experiences, reaching out to God to make sense of things, showcasing candid frustration but also devoted praise.
The music on Grace also recaptures some of the magic found on their breakthrough album, Echoes, an album that signaled the return of 80’s guitar-driven dance rock a la Gang of Four, though Grace has a more calming effect to it than Echoes’ frenetic, brash energy. “Sail Away” crowns the return of Jenner’s unmistakably hysterical, nasally vocals (which sounds dreadful in description, but is thrilling in its delivery), as the song elevates to its high peak. “How Deep Is Your Love” sounds like it a gospel spin on something off of Echoes, with its driving piano and the song’s simple yet catchy chorus. “Never Die Again” has a slick Bee Gees feel, with its fat, funky bass, hi-hat heavy disco beat, and glossy production, making it one of the most contagious songs on Grace.
The songs that offer the most insight into Jenner’s faith are also among the most rewarding. “Come Back To Me” rides comfortably on the wings of a cool accordion loop with Jenner asking for the return of the sometimes seemingly absent, sometimes ever-present peaceful spirit of God. This is followed by the album centerpiece and title track, which also gets under your skin pretty quickly with its skronky saxophone riff and crashing cymbals, as Jenner resonates on God’s redemptive spirit. Closer “It Takes Time to Be a Man” has Jenner reflecting over a literate piano line with a cool demeanor on fatherhood and the lessons from his twenties.
Not all of Grace is gratifying, as some of the simple-minded and straight-forward nature of the album sometimes comes off as boring or even nagging. “Miss You” sounds far too similar to the title track off of Pieces of the People We Love, with its drum-based drive, copious amounts of handclaps, and its artless chorus. “Children” employs youthful arena rock with some fine harmonized verses but the song never develops and Jenner’s nasally vocals hit a wall in the chorus, nose first (something fellow LxL cofounder Todd Reynolds has a history with. If you ever want to bug him, ask him about his Swimnastics disaster).
An odd record that can serve as both a purifier and a party starter, In the Grace of Your Love is a welcome return from The Rapture, even if they have lost their edge to dance rock colleagues Hot Chip, LCD Soundsystem, and Cut Copy.
Can’t Miss: “Never Die Again”, “Come Back To Me”, “How Deep Is Your Love”
Can’t Hit: “Children”, “Miss You”, “Roller Coaster”