Some of the tracks on Echoes can get a bit grating on first listen, but stick with them; just when you’re reaching out your finger toward the skip track button, it’ll invariably shift gear to something entirely different. ‘Open Up Your Heart’ is a lovely soft Pink Floyd-cum-Flaming Lips number that’s one of the few ‘straight songs’ on here, but then it segues into the hard, house-beaten ‘I Need Your Love’, complete with a mixture of instruments – sopranos and glockenspiels (as well as those keyboards) to name but a few. Whilst you can imagine this all sounding a bit weird and pretentious live, (the band photos in the inlay seem to be marketing them as a ‘real’ group.) kudos to Mercury for really letting them loose in the studio to represent themselves, ‘cause it all mixes up like a big keg ‘o dynamite.
But The Rapture are a weird, disjointed band, make no mistake about it. The rhythm section seems to have no clue that the lead guitar and vocals are happily screeching away as a punk duo, whist they themselves are thoroughly involved in a rocking house / disco band. Their keyboard personalities are an entirely different species again, tinkering around wherever and however they feel. Listening to Echoes, you can’t help but wonder where in the name of hell four guys got the education to make it all fit together and actually work so damn well. Other, perhaps, than a ‘special’ school for the mentally deranged.
Whilst it definitely won’t be to everyone’s taste, there will be moments here that everyone can like – just don’t expect everybody’s favourite moment to be at the same time. Echoes has a big opening, and a bit of a loss of direction (and fat) around the middle, but it has a cracking four-track finale to which shit just won’t stick. Gold stars all round.