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The Rakes: 'Capture/Release'


That's Radar Love by the band, Golden Earring. Enough of them. The Rakes are four skinny lads from London who mix pop melodies with jazzed guitars and jittery grooves. Our music reviewer, Christian Hoard, says their debut album, Capture/Release, is one of the best new punk records on the market.


When The Rakes released their excellent debut album in England last year, they joined a crowded field of British post-punk revivalists, bands indebted to the arty and angular attack of classic acts like Wire and Gang of Four. Capture/Release featured sharper song writing and more catchy moments than most of The Rakes' competitors could manage, and the album became a top 40 hit in the U.K. Now Capture/Release is coming out in the States. And though it probably won't make much of a dent on our fickle pop charts, it could well become an indie hit, and rightly so. It's a vibrant portrait of young urban jobbers that packs a load of jagged little thrills into the 12 songs that fly by in a mere 37 minutes.

(Soundbite of song, "22 Grand Job")

THE RAKES (Rock Band): (Singing) 22 grand job. In the city it's all right. 22 grand job...

HOARD: That song, 22 Grand Job, is a U.K. hit about working as a medium wage office slave in the big city, with singer Alan Donohoe competing against a better paid guy for the attention of the office cutie.

(Soundbite of song, "22 Grand Job")

THE RAKES: (Singing) ...come from work, that's all right. But the lights are too bright. Different sails, lots of tunes. What am I supposed to do? But he's earning 28, and no more 22. It's all right, it's all right. In the city it's all right.

HOARD: Most of Capture/Release is about the protagonist experiences of 22 Grand jobbers and other directional-less post-grads - kids for whom booze, drugs, and random sex serve as a spiritual anesthesia when busted romance and spreadsheets take their toll.

(Soundbite of song, "Work, Work, Work, Pub, Club, Sleep")

HOARD: This song - Work, Work, Work, Pub, Club, Sleep - is a tender, hooky cut above the moment when that anesthesia wears off and you wonder where in the name of Xerox and Jack Daniels your life is headed.

(Soundbite of song, "Work, Work, Work, Pub, Club, Sleep")

THE RAKES: (Singing) It's all these words, ideas and different arguments. Someone's always talking when I try to make some sense. From all this stress that is constantly going on, I just drift along with no focus or meaning. Lean back, stare up at the ceiling. I just drift along with no focus or meaning.

HOARD: If Donohoe's lyrics evoke the vague regret and cloudy-headed discontent of a bad hangover, Capture/Release mostly sounds like hot fun on a Friday night. A couple of songs like Binary Love sound a little detached, with Donohoe dropping deadpan observations about his workday over grooves that are alternately jittery or minimalist and icy. But most of the album is a tense and cathartic mix of ragged risks, spidery effects, rubbery baselines, and buoyant choruses. I'll leave you with T-Bone, a tale of booze-addled recklessness complete with a pulsating groove and a manic refrain, and one of several cuts on Capture/Release that stands up and falls down at the same time.

(Soundbite of song, "T-Bone")

THE RAKES: (Singing) Shoot to kill, I dropped a pill. Then I threw a bottle of drink down my throat. I went at first looking for assistance, T-Bone burst in with both guns blazing. T-Bone, clear out the till.

CHADWICK: The album's called Capture/Release by The Rakes, reviewed here by Christian Hoard. He's a writer for Rolling Stone magazine. And you can hear and read about lots more new music at Just look for The Song of the Day on the home page. You didn't even know it was there. It is. Go listen now.

(Soundbite of song, "T-Bone")

THE RAKES: (SINGING)'s milk, When I walk past in my balaclava. Stepping through glass and past a cadaver. Up to the counter, I could smell the...

CHADWICK: More to come on DAY TO DAY. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Christian Hoard