If you live by the scene, must you die by it? The Rapture’s 2002 single “House of Jealous Lovers” was the defining record of New York’s punk-funk revival, but when that very brief moment passed—and tamer dance-oriented rock bands like Franz Ferdinand got huge—the Rapture hadn’t even released their debut album yet. When it came out in 2003, the excellent Echoes was all but ignored. Then came the backlash: The Rapture were tossed out with the white belts and asymmetrical haircuts. “We were handed a lot of different labels that usually applied more to some other thing,” says bassist Mattie Safer. “Our attitude was, ‘Whatever, we’ll survive it.’ ” Rather than force their agenda, the Rapture cultivated hobbies (front man Luke Jenner fished, Safer D.J.’d) and retreated. But when they returned to the studio, they admirably recommitted to the sounds that got them noticed, and then dumped, in the first place. “We’re not reactionary,” says drummer Vito Roccoforte. “That’s stupid.” Pieces of the People We Love is a fiercely honed album of impassioned wailing; sharp, needling guitars; and herky-jerky beats—the sound of an accomplished band perfecting their craft and engaging their detractors by ignoring them.
—Pieces of the People We Love, Vertigo/Motown; September 12. Next: Mindy Smith Sings for Long Island