8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 20 October 2005
This album caught me a little off guard. I brought it on a whim and now I have had it for a couple of months. Just recently the penny dropped, and I now get it. There is a certain quality that surrounds this band that I like. Sounding a bit like the Clash and the Jam in the sense that there is a anti-establishment streak in them which certainly has endeared them to me.
There is also a pessimistic slant to the lyrics; it is not your run of the mill happy punky rock album. I'm not a lyric man, I'll be honest and say I miss the point a lot of the time, but the lyrics are quality throughout the album, it is really a social commentary of London life, I'd liken it to the type of narration The Streets use. Sung, not spoken though. Similar type of topics as Hard-Fi are also producing too, It seems Mike Skinner take on the public and places around him have become a major influence in British music.
These boys have lent heavily on their influences and along with the aforementioned punk rock gods they sound like they have much respect for The Libertines. Something familiar also hit me throughout the album, and it is the likeness to Bloc Party with their clever use of electronic production gives this album a definite edge. It certainly fits in well with what Bloc Party have achieved but with and extra punch of aggression.
As debuts go this is pretty outstanding. Although, I do feel they have a broad set of influences to capture the largest market area.
I didn't get it at first, took a couple of listens before it sounded good, be aware of this and it will grow on you. All in all it is a thumbs up from me.
Like :- Clash, Gang Of Four, Bloc Party, The Libertines
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 16 August 2005
I brought this album entirely on the strength of there live show at the Oxford Zodiac which blew me away but i was not sure if there live energy and clever lyrics would convert to CD...boy heck do they.
This album is one of pure class from end to end with the stand out tracks being Strasbourg, Retreat, 22 Grand Job and Terror. My personel favourite however is track number 4 Open Book. This song has a very catchy hook and its just got me going so to speak.
You will probably hear comparisons to Ian Curtis of Joy Division in regards to the front man but I cannot see where these comparisons spring from, while Joy Division will send you reaching for the knife the Rakes will make you want to dance and in my case anyway smile.
This album does have its faults though with some of the tracks not being as effective as the other stands out but in general though this is a magnificent debut and one that is worthy of your money.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 16 March 2006
The Rakes' debut album is full of all the hallmarks of great Indie music; strong tunes, lyrics that you can either relate to or at least can identify as recognisable reflections of the real world around you and perhaps most importantly the twin forces of fire and hunger in the belly. Too much modern Indie is sappy and has had it's rough edges sheared off to the extent that you could see mainstream middle-England housewives humming along to it on one of the major commercial radio stations whilst doing the hoovering. Too many bands are just not edgy or dangerous enough, there is no raw expression on their records and worst of all for the youngsters that buy them, you may find that your Parents or even Grandparents like their music to listen to when driving in their cars or doing the gardening. For example, for all the fuss surrounding Pete Doherty and The Libertines and now Babyshambles and of course his prodigious drug consumption haven't you ever felt that the music itself was dissappointingly bland and insipid? I certainly have.
Not so, with The Rakes. From the opening blast of Strasbourg where their early 80's new wave punk influences are made self-evident, it is clear that this is a band that plays with passion and energy and likes it loud. But, they are far from a one-trick pony and the wonderful Retreat and 22 Grand Job show a keen (much better than a Keane!) ear for a good strong hook and both songs will creep into your cranium where they will stay on continuous play for days on end. The rest of the album demonstrates a definite knack for writing strong accessible (without being overly obvious) hooks and riffs. The rhythm section are astightasthis and the guitar is expressive and memorable. The vocalist has one of those immediate voices that sounds like he is singing directly to you about his own personal thoughts and feelings on a one-to-one basis.
Probably the strongest track on the album is Work, Work, Work which lingers long in the mind well after you have finished playing the CD. Great observational lyrics in the verse coupled with a wonderful bittersweet melody for the chorus.
I'm a Londoner so I appreciate that whilst this album speaks to me loud and clear it might prove slightly too parochial for some tastes, but don't let concerns like that put you off, otherwise you'll be missing out on one of the most exciting bands currently around in this country.
If you like raw passionate music with heart and intelligence that you can still hum in the shower, this is the record for you.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 30 December 2005
They've really grown on me. The first song I heard of theirs was 22 Grand Job and I thought that it was too brisk and not in depth enough. But since hearing the rest of the album I think they are brilliant. They reflect perfectly for me the music scene at the moment and I'm sure they will be pivotal in the continued resurgence of British guitar music.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 November 2005
While I'd seen this band a couple of times live they always came across as one of the multitude of scrappy, London bands that were saturating the indie scene at the time. I bought the album partly because the singles "Strasbourg" and "Retreat" were so good, but mostly because I wanted to see if they'd improved. And they really have.
This is the only CD I've bought in the last few years that I don't skip tracks on. Every song here is killer, combining wonderfully melodic guitars, witty lyrics and catchy choruses and yet still retaining an urban grittiness. "22 Grand Job", "Terror!" and "Retreat" are real stand-out songs for me, and even the obligatory slower song ("Binary Love") sounds haunting and wonderful. Had Joe Strummer grown up in modern London, this is how The Clash would sound.
Essential for any self-respecting indie kid's CD collection.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 20 January 2006
Yes, it is parochial. Yes, they are unashamedly London-centric in their viewpoint. Yes, is isn't particularly original. But, it is great music, with hugely enjoyable and original lyrics. Their tunes are all very well put together and are refreshingly catchy, and it has become one of my favourite "on the way to work" albums for a hot, sweaty morning on the tube.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 22 June 2006
this is by far one of the best albums I own, there is not a bad song on here, every single one is great. The album begins with the absolutely amazing 'Strasbourg', but the highlight for me is 'We are all animals' which is fantastic. I cant compare the rakes to another band because they are not like anyone else, but trust me, buy this!!!
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 28 August 2005
So, to start off, I never used to be a fan of The Rakes at all, I never used to see what all the fuss was about. But I heard the new single Work Work Work... and thought it was a pretty catchy tune so I thought I may as well get the album. Most people may right these off as 'just another indie band jumping on the bandwagon' or an 'NME band' and this is true, NME do seem to love them, and they do sound very similar to what is 'in' at the moment, such as Bloc Party, The Futureheads etc... but they do seem to bring their own unique twist to the equation. If I was to sum up their style of music I would say it is a mixture of Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand, and The Streets but with something a bit different thrown into the mix. Sure, the lyrics are nothing special, but there is something about them you can't fail to like. They are a very tight band, and you would find it hard to come across any flaws in their music, and you can certainly see why magazines such as NME like them, and why all the indie kids love them. Overall I would say this is an amazing album, and it stands out from the crowd of the indie cd's getting released lately, because it is something a bit new and a bit different, but it never strays too far away from the indie blueprint. So I would say fans of Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser chiefs, The Departure etc.. shoud certainly pick this up. Also fans of the 'indie' genre or just people who have a soft spot for a catchy tune.
Standout tracks : Strasbourg. Retreat. Open Book. Terror. Work Work Work
Rating : 8/10
on 8 March 2009
I would suggest not to take this album on first impressions, I initially purchased it upon recommendation from a newspaper review. However, upon first listening I wasn't impressed beyond the first track. It was only when i heard Strasbourg playing in a local shop that I started playing the album again and again.
In my opinion this is probably one of the best albums to come out of the music scene in the last ten years and is unfortunately underrated. Lyrically The Rakes are unique in comparison to many of todays monotonous bands who settle for cheap rhymes, their songs have a depth and meaning that you discover after many listens. It is upon discovering these lyrics amongst the memorable riffs and great voice of the lead singer that you can appreciate the album.
I would suggest buying this album and the second album is also a decent addition.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 11 March 2006
When I first got the album, I found it disappointing. I found the vocals dull, and it was all a bit of a Franz rip-off. Then I heard single 22 Grand Job when my iPod was on shuffle mode. I sat up and thought "hey, these guys are rather superb". I then put on Work Work Work. Again, it's brilliant. Then I listened to Violent. Once again, I was bowled over by their sharp guitars. This continued until I had heard the whole album. It's just brilliant. Great fun to listen to, great fun to dance to. Some witty lyrics at time, a deeper melody of Donohue's voice is revealed throughout the album, especially on tracks like Binary Love. Only one dud, We Are All Animals, but apart from that, it's fantastic. Standout tracks have to be Strasbourg, Retreat, 22 Grand Job (pick of the bunch), Violent, Work Work Work and new material All Too Human. You NEED this in your record collection. Oh yeah, and they're the best live band I've seen.