I love risk-takers. Taking risks in music usually means you won’t be so much of a money-spinner, but you will be different. Even if it doesn’t work and no one likes it, at least you can cling onto the fact that you don’t sound like everyone else (small comfort I’m sure). When the risk pays off though, you may just be better than most.
As per tradition in how many millions of rock records these days, The Rapture’s latest opens with the sort of epic rush, but there’s something more strange about it this time; Luke Jenner’s howl of “Sail, Sail away, Sail away with you” has an edge of uncertainty which jars with the understated, but gently euphoric music. It’s things like this that make you realise there’s something more to this record and this band. The song then ends up miles from where it started in what sounds like a bizarre Bitches Brew style jazz keyboard and sax jam. Plus, how can a song as funky as ‘Miss You’ actually be about Jenner’s mother’s suicide?! Well it is. The couplet of “Why can’t you let me know? What did I ever do to you?” paired with such danceable music is faintly disturbing, but strangely brilliant.
The band have also clearly been listening to gospel music, but instead of rubbing your face in it, they slip elements of the genre into their own music and make it sound completely fresh. Rather than trying to sound like they’re mingling with a congregation of a black Baptist church, they instead, here and there, borrow the spiritual themes, call-and-response structures and the fact that a lot of the tracks would mingle comfortably alongside 50 pairs of hands clapping on the beat. While the band sound great as ever, (successfully) taking on board more ideas than ever, Jenner is probably the most magnetic presence here. The title track requests redemption from a humble and lonely outlook, whereas spirituality is turned into a disco on ‘Never Die Again’. ‘Rollercoaster’ is the sound of a man finding a reason to live again and you really feel his buoyant (though slightly cautious) excitement flow through it all.
In The Grace of Your Love isn’t just an exposé of Luke Jenner’s demons and angels, it’s also a magnificent, envelope-pushing pop record which refuses to reveal too much on the initial listens. A deeply personal record that is as miserable as it is uplifting and as uncomfortable as it is kinetic. [4.5/5.0]