The Rakes’ full-length debut is the ultimate example for me of the quintessential ‘Perversity’ album. I’ve been meaning to write about it ever since it came out in September of 2005. The fact that I still want to write about it, still play it at frequent intervals and still find it a perversity that you don’t own it only goes to prove my assertion. I can understand why you might not have heard it in the first place. Capture / Release was one of the last signs of life from the big rush of arty post-punk in the middle part of this decade. With contemporaries such as Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party, the Futureheads and Maximo Park, the Rakes tended to get overlooked, at least here in the states.
We here at Treble rejoiced in the appearance of their Dim Mak debut EP whose best three songs are included here, kicking off the album proper all in a row. “Strasbourg,” “Retreat” and “22 Grand Job” are worth the price of the album all by themselves. The latter track is one of the best of 2005, showing off that the Rakes, more so than any of their peers, are more punk than post-punk, more art than arty, and more working class than any since the Clash. But if you just wanted those three songs, I suppose you could track down the EP. So, as a bonus, there’s the Specials meets Police “Open Book,” the Bloc Party like diatribe of “The Guilt,” and the robot love story of “Binary Love.”
“We Are All Animals,” though at first sounding a bit childish, is actually a driving anthem with a strong backbeat. The intro to “T-Bone” does sound as if it’s about to turn into Bloc Party’s “Helicopter,” but is at least just as compelling as it heads into the meat of the song. “Terror” is what you’d imagine if the Clash wrote a theme song for a slasher flick, with an early Cure bassline that more than resembles “Subway Song.” “Work Work Work (Pub Club Sleep)” depicts their middle class Whitechapel lifestyle quite well, emphasizing their own assertion that they are England’s first post-David Brent (The Office) band. The album ends with a track that was only just recently released as a single in the band’s native England, “All Too Human.” The song, a bonus track on the US version, is their highest chart climber to date in the UK, and it’s easy to hear why.
If you’ve listened to Franz, Bloc Party, the Futureheads and Maximo Park and wished that they were just a little more working class, a little more punk driven, but still with the incredible angular hooks, accented vocals and driving beats, then the Rakes are your godsend. I’d argue that Capture / Release is the better of most of the above albums. They’re maybe not as marketable, but they’ve got the goods and deliver them in one taut package.