Ones we love: The Rapture smooth out edges on new album

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By MATT MEDVED

There was never any discussion about the kind of music The Rapture would play.

“To me, rock and roll is dance music. Period,” says saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist Gabriel Andruzzi. “They’re catchy songs but also simple enough so that people could go out, have a good time and shake their asses. That’s what I’ve always been attracted to. It’s what we like to do as a band.”

The New York dance-rockers live up to that ideal on Pieces of the People We Love, their sizzling follow up to 2003’s critically acclaimed Echoes. More importantly, the band recorded their sophomore effort on their own terms.

“A lot of times a band does their second album and doesn’t get enough time to write the songs,” Andruzzi says. He adds that labels will then “put them in with a stodgy seasoned producer.”

“We weren’t really interested in any part of that process,” he says. “We wanted to work with someone young.”

Enter DJ Danger Mouse. The Rapture set up a weekend with the talented producer of Gnarls Barkley and Gorillaz fame and was thrilled with his interest in their brand of groove infused dance-punk. He signed on to co-produce the album soon after.

The results will be on display when The Rapture plays Sunday, Nov. 5 at the Metro, 3730 N. Clark St.

The Rapture was formed in 1998 by vocalist/guitarist Luke Jenner and drummer Vito Roccoforte. Matt Safer later joined on bass and invited Andruzzi, his second cousin, to play a couple of shows. Andruzzi officially joined the band in 2002, just in time to record Echoes and its flagship single “House of Jealous Lovers” in 2003. The success of the ragged, feedback-churning single propelled awareness of the band and anticipation for Echoes’ release.

“We went to Europe, out on our own, just a little band. And we realized that “House” had kind of blown up,” Andruzzi says. He adds that dance bands will often break in the United Kingdom before they do in the United States. “Europe doesn’t necessarily get it but is a little more open to dance music.”

Echoes was released on Universal Records, but not before it was leaked online six months before its release date.

“A lot of music critics had heard it online and had made up their minds already,” Andruzzi says. “I prefer a sneak attack myself, but it wasn’t much of a sneak attack.”

Regardless, Echoes fueled The Rapture through two years on the road, touring with the likes of Funeral for a Friend, Franz Ferdinand, Interpol and The Cure. The grueling trek culminated at Manumission, a gigantic summer techno party on the Mediterranean island of Ibiza.

“The show sucked; it was one of the weirdest atmospheres I’ve ever experienced,” he says. “There was a little midget running around, there was a very scary 30-year-old woman trying to give one of the DJs a blow job, which he wasn’t really into.”

Tired of touring, The Rapture entered the studio to record Pieces of the People We Love. The new songs were completed and demoed before the band even set foot in the studio, resulting in a more uniform sound.

“It’s a little more cohesive. We just decided to center the rhythm sections and develop pop songs around them,” Andruzzi says. “It’s definitely a more traditionally produced record than Echoes is, so it is less raw. But I don’t think it’s any less immediate.”

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~ by Matt Medved on November 2, 2006.

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