The Rapture Echoes

Before the Rapture go to bed at night, they thank God for the following things: handclaps, cowbells, saxophones, call and answer vocals, counting and Gang of Four. And with the unveiling of the quartet's slick and polished second full-length release, the boys come clutching their favourite tools to elaborate on the glimmer of heated frenzy that raced through their hype-inducing "House of Jealous Lovers" single last year. On the whole, the disco-punk thing is kicked up a notch, with the reworked opener "Olio," from Mirror, setting the tone for the rest of the collection. But what keeps this release from growing old too fast and sounding too derivative isn't Luke Jenner's caterwauling wail, (which is actually in fine form in some places, like the truly bumpin' "I Need Your Love") their catchy well-placed beats, or their chugging bass lines, but their aptitude for versatility. Where their dance tracks certainly shine, their slower rock tracks, like the serenading saxophone-saved "Open Up Your Heart" and the vaguely anthemic "Love Is All," actually work. Who cares if "Infatuation" ends things on a tired, melodramatic note — the Rapture have proven themselves thus far to be men of at least a few hats. All they've got left decide is whether to keep up the studly progress or misstep to meet with one collectively disappointed sigh that speaks, "they were just so close!" (DFA)