The Rapture

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From left: Vito Roccoforte, Matt Safer, Luke Jenner

From left: Vito Roccoforte, Matt Safer, Luke Jenner

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>0/5

Some people are New Yorkers by birth and some by choice, but the guys in the Rapture are New Yorkers by chance. Formed in San Francisco in 1998, the band soon took its first tour East—and never left. "We didn't put any forethought into the move," says drummer Vito Roccoforte. "We just booked a half-assed tour of clubs and piled all our possessions into the van. The first few months here were really tough. I was sleeping under the BQE in the van."

After weathering this initial low period, the Rapture's fortunes have improved. The band's concerts are attracting a rapidly swelling audience, thanks both to its jittery dance-punk assault and the guitar-adorned prancing of lead singer Luke Jenner. ("It's difficult to play and not move," he insists.)

Though the band has yet to release a full-length album, its discography is already impressive. Out of the Races and onto the Tracks, an EP from last year, approached punk from the arty, bass-heavy angle favored by outfits like Gang of Four and PiL. Better still is "House of Jealous Lovers," a 12" single that incorporates thick computer beats and house-music production flourishes; the record has made Jenner's flailing vocals and discordant guitar an unlikely hit in the type of club where rock traditionally gets shunned. "We're really interested in the early '80s, when a lot of bands were searching for something to do after punk," says Jenner, who makes no secret of his Gang of Four fixation. "The same thing happened at the end of the '80s, with bands like Primal Scream and Stone Roses opening up to a wide range of influences."

The Rapture's desire to reach beyond rock is nourished by its association with DFA Records, the new Manhattan label devoted to crossbreeding rock and dance music. Set for an August release, the band's full-length debut promises to see the three punks expanding their reach into the world of beats and bleeps. "We don't want to just be another indie-rock band," Jenner says. "We want to make people dance."

The Rapture opens for Doves at Hammerstein Ballroom June 20, 2002.

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