CD Reviews

In the Grace of Your Love, There’s Always Another Girl and Coastal Grooves

DANCE-PUNK

The Rapture In the Grace of Your Love (DFA)

NYC post-punk revivalists The Rapture finally return with a full-length album six years after 2006’s Pieces of the People We Love. The band is back on indie DFA, having lost none of the major-label polish accumulated after a short stint with Motown/Universal. Opening disco-dance salvo “Sail Away” does what its title promises, giving further credence to the notion that The Rapture makes fun rock ’n’ roll, liberating pop for people who don’t want to enjoy music sitting in a cubicle, standing stock-still with arms crossed, or puttering to work in a car. “Miss You” takes a more old-school approach with its classic hook and structure, its pseudo-doo-wop momentum and street-corner handclaps. By the time we get to the cavernous, common garage-rocker “Blue Bird,” however, The Rapture’s Achilles’ heel—weak, inconsistent lyrics (seriously, “blue bird/on my shoulder”?)—becomes too evident. If you’re looking for something to grease a dance floor, though, Grace is the word. ★★★☆☆

’90s ROCK

Juliana Hatfield There’s Always Another Girl (Ye Olde Records)

Earnest ’90s PC feminism—from Kurt Cobain apologizing for torture tune “Polly” to Eddie Vedder markering “pro-choice” on his arm during Pearl Jam’s 1992 MTV Unplugged appearance—faded for a while as asshat jocks Limp Bizkit reigned. Feminism has emerged in more indirect ways with the rising freak-folk scene, but rarely are issues of gender and pop culture engaged head-on. Hatfield, who once wrote an un-ironic tune called “I’m Not Your Mother” 20 years ago, assembles a collection of songs roughly and fearlessly themed around the problem of women entertainers and how they’re marketed, consumed and TMZ-ed. The title track is a thinly veiled defense of Lindsay Lohan who—it’s true—gets treated differently by the media than, say, Charlie Sheen. But is the concept of women getting shafted by tabloid culture worth exploring? The predominance of acoustic guitars is strange, too, giving every song—including the rockin’ “Taxicab” (a metaphor for life’s speedy passing)—a coffeehouse vibe. Worth a pre-rap-rock flashback spin, regardless. ★★☆☆☆

SYNTH-POP

Blood Orange Coastal Grooves (Domino)

This here’s some funky-sexy-good shit, as if Dev Hynes (a.k.a. Lightspeed Champion, now Blood Orange) somehow discovered the magic recipe for fusing vintage Wham! and Violator-era Depeche Mode. Born in Texas, raised in England, currently residing in NYC, Hynes (also a great short-fiction writer and comic-book auteur) possesses a similarly wide-ranging imagination, taking listeners from East Coast new-wave clubs to West Coast party jams. “Sutphin Boulevard” is an ice-cold yet fleshy groove, with touches of Asian pop and shimmering chime effects that transport you to a disheveled patch of big-city neon. “The Complete Knock” keeps you moving to the gritty rhythm of a disco ball-spotted concrete jungle, while “S’cooled” injects your booty with that ol’ feel-good ’80s pop sound. Grooves offers comparatively subdued pleasures when judged against Brooklyn’s current synth-rock scene. But don’t let this citrus of an album slip by—it’s got a helluva tart flavor. ★★★☆☆

Suggested Next Read

Tour Buzz

Music

Tour Buzz

By Geoff Carter

SUGAR RUSH: I like Def Leppard. I know that the pop-metal band, scheduled to play the MGM Grand on Sept. 4 ($46-$138), is about as hardcore as bubble bath, but few are immune to the charms of “Photograph,” “Hysteria,” “Rock of Ages,” “Pour Some Sugar on Me” and “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak”—and according to most published reviews of this tour you get every one of those hits, dutifully performed.

DTLV

RunRebs

X