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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

(the) Rakes - Retreat EP

Band: The Rakes
Album: Retreat EP
Year: 2005
Style: Brit Pop, Angular Post Punk
Similar Bands: Franz Ferdinand, Razorlight, Futureheads, Bloc Party, Art Brut, Gang of Four, Strokes
"One-Word" Review: Angled Ricochet Bouncing
Based Out Of: London, England
Label: Dim Mak, V2 Music Limited
 Retreat EP - Cover & Back
Retreat EP - Liner Noted & CD
Retreat EP (2005)
  1. Retreat 3:00
  2. Strasbourg 2:31
  3. Dark Clouds 2:58
  4. 22 Grand Job 1:47
  5. Something Clicked and I Fell Off the Edge 2:30
  6. Retreat (Phones Remix) 5:45
Album Rating (1-10): 8.5

Members & Other Bands:
Paul Epworth - Producer, Remixing
Paul Schroeder - Producer
Anne Caruthers - Producer, Mixing
Simon John Roberts - Sleeve Design
Nick Pimental - Dim Mark Release Layout
Philip Morais - Management: CEC
Alan Donohoe - Vox (Groove Armada, The Champagne Campaign)
Jamie Hornsmith - Bass
Lasse Petersen - Drums (Dead Pixels, Wolf Gang)
Matthew Swinnerton - Guitar

Unknown-ness: I have a vague recollection of hearing about this band, but I don't know what genre they fell into. I am assuming general hard rock indie, just by the minimal packaging. But they do allow for a remix, so that probably makes them a little more dancy-electronic. Other than the co.uk website, marking them as British, there is not much else to go by.

Album Review: The Rakes lasted from 2003 – 2009, and produced 3 albums and this EP in that time. The three of the first four songs here come from their first album Capture / Release, the first and forth songs were singles. They have not done anything too big since the acclaim they received from their first album, when they were part of the Franz Ferdinand style angular post punk dance movement of the early-mid 00’s.

“Retreat” has a bass line to start the song, like it is being chipped away. Then a disco dance drum beat is added and the short, angular, menacing guitar chords create an art punk style song. The chorus chant, followed by the monotone countdown “wash-rinse-repeat” style chanting both borrow from the pop culture ushered in by Franz Ferdinand.
“Strasbourg” is a fast-strummed, jittery song with strokes like singing, guided vaguely by the guitar melody. The chorus is shouty, but it is a nice angsty release to the hooky verse. The music ends before the vocals finish out the final verse.
“Dark Clouds” begins with surf chords strummed over highly echoing/reverbed vocals. The vocals stay smooth and collected as they glide over a charging guitar attack. This song uses a lot of start stop guitar chords for a stuttering, chaotic effect. The vocals are darker and more sedated than the energetic music or other songs showcase.

“22 Grand Job” kicks right in with a pounding drum beat, and the vocals are layered over the music without consulting it like an Art Brut spoken-discussion song. It is a fun song, as the timing between vocals and music is spot on, even if the melodies (or lack of a vocal melody) don’t quite lineup. The guitar rises and falls like an ocean tide on time lapse photography.
“Something Clicked and I Fell Off the Edge” carries on the Art Brut spoken story idea of singing further with the dialog over choppy, distorted guitars. The chorus only consists of an “Ahh-WOOO.” The angular guitar that blends with the vocals is fun, as it would be solid work on its own. The variation of the chorus changes so that the Ah-Wo is layered in time with the main vocals saying “I need a cigarette / I need a drink.”
“Retreat (Phones Remix)” feels like Gang Of Four’s more recent work, with electronic bips peppered in a repetitive guitar hook. The dance drums are kicked up a digital notch and skitter more than on the single. The vocals feel a little more synthesized, and the melody is stripped down in a cold, sterile, dark wave style. At one point before dark wave characteristic twinkling bells are employed, the vocals get stuck skipping on the obvious word “repeat.” 

Stand Out Track: Strasbourg


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