Last Call For London
Possessing that distinctly English sound, Klang, The Rakes’ final album before their recent demise, shuffles out the seemingly usual twangy guitar on 10 upbeat pop tracks. Much like Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand, The Rakes take on three-minute post-punk shines like a pretty penny tossed in a sea of overspent dimes. Klang indulges in its own unabashed aggression.
“You’re In It” opens the album with lead singer Alan Donohoe’s best impression of Ian Curtis had he spent more time with the London punks of the ’70s. The guitar work, acting more like clockwork, trudges through the song with sharp, even strokes of Brit-punk groove. “I am so horny!” exclaims Donohoe leading to a thrilling crescendo just before the two-minute mark.
Invoking the spirits of Joey, Johnny, and DeeDee, The Rakes very much want to be sedated with the opening punk riffs in “The Loneliness of the Outdoor Smoker,” slowing down for an awkward, but rewarding break in this short track for a gathering of drums and quietly strummed guitar. Thankfully, we welcome back the return of distortion, speed, and all that good stuff.
Midway through the album, the introduction of a sad Bowie-esque piano accompanies a gender-sympathizing Donohoe crying “Give a girl a break!” like a glam rock anthem. The piano, now a happy T. Rex, boogies on for three minutes. This track marks a point in the album where The Rakes’ versatility becomes rather evident.
Towards the end of the album, “The Light From Your Mac” reveals a more snarky Donohoe tired of the mundane aspects of a comfortable relationship. He begins a list of complaints sounding like a sleepy singer from The Cribs, which ultimately sounds like The Strokes if they were British.
Klang reveals to be one of the more solid indie releases of 2009, but this is an album best justified in the presence of the actual musicians. Sadly, one can only hope for a speedy reunion from these four Londoners.