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Friday, March 23, 2007
LISTENING POST: CD REVIEWS
The Rakes "Ten New Messages"
One of the dozen or so neo-postpunk British guitar bands signed in the wake of Franz Ferdinand's success, East London's The Rakes flaunted their middle class background (in concert they wear matching polo shirts) and dynamic debt to Wire on their 2005 debut "Capture/Release." Their second album retains the tension-and-release strategy epitomized by Matthew Swinnerton's staccato guitar lines but strives for bigger melodies and emotions -- less Wire, more Pulp. And whereas the like-minded Bloc Party has translated its sophomore ambitions into longer and knottier songs, The Rakes go for even tighter concision with an ear for the anthemic break. The songs are short and make their points in the biggest possible ways: On "One A Mission," it's the relentless eighth-note pounding of Jamie Hornsmith's bass and on "Down With Moonlight" it's how the witty lockstep verse marches inexorably into the explosive chorus.
Less funky than rockishly insistent, The Rakes write and arrange on the balls of their feet, leaning hard into the music and letting the tension build naturally.