Rakes Capture/Release

Rakes Capture/Release
There is a certain contemporary stigma attached to English bands who excel in storytelling, where they’re either bred of the Libertines’ London-centric, in-the-gutter poetry or Mike Skinner’s Brummie geezer rhymes. The Rakes are as compellingly descriptive of everyday English life as the aforementioned, yet without the melodrama or demanding vocal delivery that can turn listeners off. Singer Alan Donohoe speaks for the common Londoner with precision and humour, addressing the task of contemplating your job’s worth ("22 Grand Job”) or being a social drinker ("Work, Work, Work (Pub, Club, Sleep)” like a good, advisable friend. Immediate likenesses are Pulp, if Jarvis Cocker traded in glam for art punk, or the Fall, if Mark E. Smith wasn’t so incoherent and stubborn. The fact they’re following in the footsteps of Bloc Party, the Futureheads and Maximo Park is no coincidence, considering they worked with the same producer of all three: Paul Epworth. Stripped down and analysed, the Rakes even share many of the same musical traits with each of these bands — a convulsive energy, snappy choruses, tunefully angular guitars and a distinct Britishness — all while supplementing enough of their own glowing personality to avoid bitter cries of "copycat!” It’ll make you dance, sing along and ponder their sharp lyrical wit — Capture/Release is all of this and much more.

What made you work with taste-making producer Paul Epworth and how much did he help you shape your sound? Donahoe: Paul was introduced to us by our manager (who gets a lot of advice from Bloc Party’s manager). We didn’t know a lot about producers, being pretty new to this business; he was really up for it and we all got on. We only really had demos "pre-Paul,” so he was a big influence. He reinvigorated us regarding some tracks that we had been playing for about two years — before we ever had a gig. We needed that. But we will probably work with someone else for the next album — got to keep moving on... like a shark.

Is it true you write your lyrics on your mobile phone? Yeah I do. I think predictive text is the best piece of software invented... It’s out of convenience and it helps get thoughts down before they’re forgotten. It looks better than getting out a big book with "LYRICS” written on it if you’re in a pub. It looks like you’re texting someone — clever.

Your name derives from how skinny the four of you are. What happens if you all gain weight? We have had to think about this issue quite seriously. If we gain too much weight, we’ll call ourselves "The Cakes.” (V2)