Circa-1981 and the so-called new wave movement is coughing up bands like the Gang of Four, ESG and the Pin Group. Leapfrog twenty plus years in 2003 and wow it's happening again. Brooklyn's The Rapture may share similarities to obvious heroes Happy Mondays and The Cure, but via hot production duo DFA (Tim Goldsworthy and James Murphy) have created something that takes those influences to the next level.
Opener "Olio" sets the tone with a strung-out techno rhythm melting into slamming post-punk riffing and acid bleeps, "I Need Your Love" wouldn't sound out of place at Larry Levan's Paradise Garage brimming full of disco pulses, while "Love Is All" is super heavy funk crossed with Alex Chilton. The single "House Of Jealous Lovers" is central to the album and a thrilling slice of sleazy pop brilliance. Elsewhere "Sister Saviour" has Robert Smith's romanticism filtered through the jacking rhythm of the early Chicago house of Phuture.
'Echoes' is an exceptional record that manages to wear its influences on its sleeve yet still be the most exciting and exhilarating rock album in a very long time - a thrilling voyage through the best of old and new and a powerful example of the extraordinary city that New York is. To quote a recent compilation this outstanding release should perhaps be subtitled "The Sound Of Young New York". Modern rock simply does get any better, and this is easily one of the best albums for 2003. Recommended.