Two years ago, all the mainstream music mags were calling for a "return to rock," but what nobody could have predicted was the forthcoming explosion of bands fusing dance and punk. From Hot Hot Heat to !!!, every new-rock band was filching a disco beat--bass melodies, high-hats at frenzied half-time, and a squalling vocalist to tie it all together. Emerging at the forefront of the dancepunk scene: The Rapture, four New Yorkers (by way of Seattle, by way of San Francisco) who combined raucous disco rhythms with Gang of Four guitar stabs and Luke Jenner's wailing vocal tick that brought comparisons to Tom Verlaine and John Lydon.
Sound familiar? Sure it does. However, out of all the dance punks, The Rapture was the only one to actually cross over into the actual dance world. This was possible thanks to a stellar remix of their bleating punk song "House of Jealous Lovers," which was mixed into a hothouse club perennial by NYC production duo The DFA (Tim Goldsworthy and James Murphy). It's amazing what a little cowbell and a disco beat will do to a number already teeming with heartbeat-innate bass and reverbed guitar jabs. The "House of Jealous Lovers" 12" sold a rumored 20,000 copies--an extraordinary number for a single on a somewhat obscure, new record label--and became the dance-party anthem of 2001 for DJs, punks, and critics alike. It sounded like a head-on collision of Public Image Limited, Chic, and Mantronix. What's not to love?
Their next release will be their first full-length record, though they've amassed quite a collection of EPs and singles on Sub Pop, GSL, and Gravity Records. To be produced and released by DFA, the album is hugely anticipated--and not just 'cause The Rapture's already the hottest band. People wanna know: will the tracks rock the discotheque with the same aplomb as the aforementioned single? THE ANSWER: Probably, given their extensive catalog of DFA-produced disco house singles and appearances on DJ mixes. But find out for sure at their show--which, judging by their last Portland performance, will be an energy-infused extravaganze of electrified vocals and bass-heavy, live dance tracks. It's the future.