By: Peter Gaston
Put aside their sound for a moment — the jagged, call-and-response guitars; the slinky hi-hat stutters; the insistent bassline — and listen to what the Rakes are talking about: “Everything is temporary these days / Might as well go out for a fifth night in a row,” sings frontman Alan Donohoe on “Retreat.” Later, on “22 Grand Job”: “Girl from the work looks alright … Bloke in sales likes her too / What am I supposed to do? / But he’s earning 28, and I’m on 22.” It’s not the informed, semi-political banter of Bloc Party, nor the witty social commentary of the Futureheads. This is music for the common people.
Yes, the common people, indeed. It’s no surprise that the Rakes have already been heralded as this decade’s version of Pulp; the fact that Donohoe’s a massively engaging, expressive, and gangly singer with fantastically nerdy dance moves doesn’t hurt the comparison at all. But the message — that it’s completely okay to stay out late, have a pint, and hook up, even if it’s a Monday — is a rallying cry for the pre-professional masses, everyone from scarf-wearing indie kids to motley metal heads (British hair rockers the Towers of London nearly knocked over this writer with their frantic bouncing during “22 Grand Job” at the Rakes’ recent sold-out New York show).
As the chant goes on “Retreat”: “Walk home, come down, retreat to sleep / Hook up again, this time, next week.” Don’t mind if we do.
A remastered version of the Rakes’ debut, Capture/Release, gets a proper U.S. release next week on V2. The band has one date April 27 in San Francisco before playing the Coachella festival April 29.