Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ten New Messages - The Rakes

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Well if KT Tunstall has gone "pop", then the 2007 version of The Rakes have followed a similar
trajectory. But, for my money, it's been a good move. Much like Maximo Park earlier this year, the Rakes have followed a critically acclaimed album that underwhelmed me with a second album that may not get the same fevered response from a lot of critics but is a record that I prefer.

The brashness and punk ethic that encapsulated the likes of 22 Grand Job has pretty much disappeared, to be replaced by reflective, but utterly melodic, tunes.

At it's best it's brilliant. The likes of Down With Moonlight are sublime and there are a few tracks, like We Danced Together, that get better every time you hear them again.

The only real places when it gets a little too misplaced is on the likes of Suspicious Eyes, a game attempt to write a song relevant for these terrorist influenced times but one that falls flat. It's neither sharp enough lyrically, or memorable enough musically to convince. Similarly When Tom Cruise Cries is a game effort, but just not a very memorable song (seemingly exactly the same all the way through it's near five minute running time) and whilst the idea of song largely concerned with mobile phone signals being crap may sound interesting, Mike Skinner has already given us much wittier examples of how to do it properly.

So it's not a perfect record, and I can well imagine fans of their first album being very suspicious when they first hear it. Still, it is a good record which does improve with repeat listens.

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