Ten New Messages CD
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Jerky, irreverent and quasi-intellectual thanks to right place/right time positioning, a frontman with all the behavioural anti-style of a skinny David Brent and everyday themes that were all too easy to relate to, The Rakes quickly received plaudits by the bundle and a lot of shouting ensued about them being an indie The Streets, or similar. Of course they weren't as clever as that, nor were they as brash as Franz Ferdinand, as intense as Bloc Party, as literate as Maximo Park, as chaotic as The Libertines or as slick as Razorlight, meaning that when the hype settled they were little more than that stale taste in the back of your throat from last night.
The general turnaround on Ten New Messages is as unexpected then as it is gratifying, with the stunted punk instancy of old traded in for a complex mesh of tight rhythms, creeping criss-cross melodic patch-working and a more mature palette of influences all round. The band are on leaner form, no doubt, but it's the front of house work by Alan Donahue that's likely to pull in the silverware. His vocals themselves are more assured but it's the focussed narratives tracking someone down in the immediate aftermath of the 7/7 bombings (the anxious, touching "When Tom Cruise Cries") and the racism that inevitably followed that day (the inspired, multi-protagonist "Suspicious Eyes") for instance where he simmers tensions and tone with a skill that the frivolity of their debut just couldn't manage. Discard all old messages. Save new. --James BerrySee all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
First of all, how does this record compare with its predecessor (Capture/Release)? Whereas the first record was full of witty, 3 minute raucous punk-pop gems, the new record exudes more ambition, with a richer, fuller sound (think the production of 'Computer love off the first album, but with added vitriol). However, this hasn't, as far as I'm concerned, dulled the appeal of the group at all.
From the first track, 'The World Was A Mess.....' you can tell that the same primal thrill that you expect from a Rakes record remains. The spidery guitar backed with a rich bass and drums combination makes for appealing listening. The same is true across the board. A personal favourite being 'Trouble' - a richer, drum-fill-peppered 'Strasbourg' with an epic melody to boot. 'Supsicious Eyes' is a fine piece of topical observation, and the album ends with a fine, lolloping 'Leave The City and Come Home' - a truly epic end to the album - to just name the highlights off a pretty consistent album.
In conclusion, the Rakes still have tunes. It's just they have come armed with more than 3-minute punk-pop songs - ambition and greater sound depth. Approach with an open mind and don't expect it to be a carbon copy of Capture/release and you may be pleasantly surprised.
The brashness and punk ethic that encapsulated the likes of 22 Grand Job has pretty much disappeared, to be replaced by reflective, but utterly melodic, tunes.
At it's best it's brilliant. The likes of Down With Moonlight are sublime and there are a few tracks, like We Danced Together, that get better every time you hear them again.
The only real places when it gets a little too misplaced is on the likes of Suspicious Eyes, a game attempt to write a song relevant for these terrorist influenced times but one that falls flat. It's neither sharp enough lyrically, or memorable enough musically to convince. Similarly When Tom Cruise Cries is a game effort, but just not a very memorable song (seemingly exactly the same all the way through it's near five minute running time) and whilst the idea of song largely concerned with mobile phone signals being crap may sound interesting, Mike Skinner has already given us much wittier examples of how to do it properly.
So it's not a perfect record, and I can well imagine fans of their first album being very suspicious when they first hear it. Still, it is a good record which does improve with repeat listens.
Forget the overhyped Arctic Monkeys (great lyrics, no tunes), this is a superb album. Here is what I think of each song;
1 - The World was a mess..... Just a superb song. Brilliant "english" lyrics and driving bass. Wonderful opener. Deserves to be a massive hit and is leagues on from the Arctic Monkeys
2 - Little Superstitions. Another excellent tune with a lovely guitar hook over it. Superb chorus. Again, deserves to be a massive hit
3 - We danced together - The first single and takes awhile to get going. However 2/3rds of the way in when the drums and bass combine with the snarled words "we didnt give a s*** about....." is brilliant.
4 - Trouble. Brilliant dirty guitar intro and then the pounding bass kicks in. Sit still to this, I dare ya !! Sounds English and Punky. Brilliant !!
5 - Suspicios Eyes. This is a massive song. Showing the two sides of life in London today. Rapping sections from both sides of the fence. White flight and a brown guy with a bag. The band have taken a big risk with this song as it could have been so cheesy. But this works and is a masterpiece. Says it all about London today.
6 - On a mission. Argeuably the weakest song here. Still good though and no filler.
7 - Down with the Moonlight. Brilliant. Bet this is smoking live. Sounds edgy and prowling. Great song.
8 - When Tom Cruise Cries. My least favourite on the album. Cant get into it. Reading the reviews though, everyone else loves it.
9 - Time to stop talking. My favourite song. Brilliant bassline and superb chorus. Wonderful track !!
10 - Leave the City and Come Home. Just magic. Slighty slower and wonderul lyrics. Love it and great end to the album.
Buy this album. Its an absolute cracker.
The world was a mess but his hair was perfect: Great name and a great tune. A really snappy intro that is just like the ld rakes, fast paced and packed with sneer.
Little Superstitions: A song of great maturity, a good song that has a really catchy beat.
We danced together: The lead single from the album, and what a cracker! Everything about this song is immense.
Trouble: A fast paced song. A really strong chorus that will be a live favourite.
Suspicios Eyes: What a tune! With a bit of rapping to boot! A fascinating song abut racism post 7/7. Needs to be heard!
On A Mission: This is where the album slows down in quality songs, it shouldn't be on this album. A good try though.
Down With Moonlight: A good pickup from the previous song, but again, not the best rakes song.
When Tom Cruise Cries: What a great title and what a great song! A brilliant take on our clebrity obsessed culture.
Time To Stop Talking: One of the highlights of the album. Needs to be heard!
Leave the city and come home: An average end to a great album. Could have been better.
Overall: A great second album, great for people into Bloc Party. The Rakes deserved far better media coverage for this album. It is far better than their frst and gives the band a platform to do even better things!
Buy it now!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an album I listen to frequently.I hadn't heard any of the Rakes previous to a friend giving me a CD of this,so I was instantly converted on hearing it. Read morePublished on 13 Nov. 2007 by juliet R
I actually agree in large parts, with the scathing review below...
This is a distinctly average album - it's not bad but it's not good either. Read more
...how can the person above have legally heard the album if it's not been released yet? This sounds to me like a personal attack - all the more so that few if any will be in a... Read morePublished on 13 Mar. 2007 by A Guardian reader