The Rapture

Sub Pop

Influence of the Other Ian: During a shabby punk-soul set at the Black Cat a couple of months ago, the (International) Noise Conspiracy borrowed heavily from the Make-Up, and now arrives Out of the Races and Onto the Tracks, on which NYC trio the Rapture resurrects the ghost of Ian Svenonius’ earlier outfit, Nation of Ulysses. The Rapture doesn’t run on the same furiously propulsive punk engine that NOU did, but singer/guitarist Luke Jenner plays pretty for baby with hyperaccusatory shouts and strained whining that might have been lifted directly from The Embassy Tapes. The group’s MO is to pair those vocals with arrangements soaked in circa-1980 post-punk, creating a sound entirely appropriate to the EP’s title, which probably has less to do with NASCAR than it does with dropping out of the 9-to-5 and getting into the heroin scene. “Caravan” begins as a slow guitar leak, then alternates between punky dry heaves and what sounds like Jenner shouting from the bottom of a well. “The Pop Song” gets a chokehold on a Tom Verlaine riff as Jenner balances precariously at the very top of his vocal range, shrieking, “You’re growing older!” And “The Jam” is an enlightening experiment in just how badly a rhythm can be ruptured before it falls completely apart. It’s all arty, fractured stuff that, like the best of Pylon and Public Image Ltd., offers moments of pure spine-tingling delight. Though none of the record’s six tracks cohere long enough to become the kind of kinetic knee-buckler that Ian S. regularly kicked out, Out of the Races and Onto the Tracks is nonetheless a captivating mess. —Patrick Foster