The Rapture emerged from the scratchy post-post-punk revival on the West Coast before moving to New York in 2000, where they became the city’s premier disco punks. But what they’ve evolved into is a lot closer to, well, classic rock. Not surprising, really. If 2011 is “everything time,” as the Rapture’s fellow Brooklynites in Gang Gang Dance put it, and if the recently shuttering of NYC rock radio station WXRP was, as New York magazine’s Michael Idov wrote, proof that in “rock music, every heir to icons past — be it the Beatles or Joy Division — now belongs to a niche genre,” the Rapture’s third album, In the Grace of Your Love, navigates that surfeit of options with a clear head and the strongest unit of songs the band’s ever written.
Naturally, it came out of turmoil. In the Grace of Your Love is the Rapture’s third full album, and their second for DFA after an unhappy sojourn on Universal/Motown. Bassist-songwriter Mattie Safer left; guitarist-songwriter Luke Jenner’s mother committed suicide shortly after he began his own family; and in 2009, he converted to Catholicism.
The songs reflect it boldly: The title song’s refrain goes, “Heaven, heaven, heaven, heaven/ Don’t want you dead.” The ghostly accordion and muffled dance beat of “Come Back to Me” — clearly, these guys have been cocking an ear to Ricardo Villalobos’s Latin-tinged minimal techno — accompany lyrics such as, “I welcome you/ Back into my heart/ My spirit, nourishing spirit.”
Jenner isn’t above the sins of the flesh: The “roll with me” of “Roller Coaster” hints at an Ecstasy trip. But “How Deep Is Your Love?” is the album’s mission statement. It’s a straight-up piano-house anthem, albeit one with a rock band, including saxophone, playing on it. Jenner has typified this song as a “prayer.” That’s how it feels, too.