"Hype hype hype. Hype hype hype hype hype hype. Hype hype hype hype.
Hype! Hype hype hype? Hype hype hype.
Hype hype hype hype one of the best records of 2003."
-every hipster magazine, circa December 2003
The Rapture are not the saviors of music. The Rapture are simply an overhyped excuse of a dancepunk group who had all their beats handed to them on a silver platter. Anyone could make songs this good if DFA gave them the beats.
That being said, Echoes is a really fun, if rather uneven, album.
If you keep your ear to the New York hipster tracks, odds are you've already heard "House Of Jealous Lovers." The song's been out for over a year, and is still as infectious and danceable as it was the first time it was played. Plus it's got a cowbell. Right on.
Another standout is "Heaven," which really shows off the band's original influences such as Gang of Four and Wire, while still being propelled by a dancefloor beat. It's a near perfect amalgamation, one that's not duplicated for the majority of the album.
Songs like "Olio" are just too... electronic, frankly. How could a band ever play these live? I have no idea. The cheesy "I Need Your Love" is pretty much the death knell for the overrated DFA beats on here, sounding more like background music to "Queer Eye For The Straight Guy" than an actual song.
The band's true talent in songwriting still peeks through at times, however. "Open Up Your Heart" is a loosely-assembled dirge of a Radiohead tribute with a nice saxophone part, and it's quite good. The album's title track sounds like Cedric Bixler-Zavala fronting Radio 4, and it works. "Love Is All" comes from out of leftfield, sounding more like Pavement or Sebadoh than The Faint or Duran Duran. It's a welcome change of pace.
Album closer "Infatuation" also runs a bit slower than most songs, and is sufficiently gloomy and eerie enough to bring the whole mood of the disc down. That's rather hard to do, considering the album's sole purpose seems to be "make awkward scenesters dance as if they knew how."
You really have to wonder what state of affairs music is in when hipper-than-thou webzines declare this album the best of the year simply because they can dance to it. Even more frustrating is the fact that you simply can't dance to most of these songs; some of these beats are so stunted that only Elaine from Seinfeld's dance moves would fit the bill.
Hype aside, Echoes is a fun album at times, but nowhere near as good as all the praise it's been receiving. The good does outweigh the bad, though, and I'm definitely curious to see where the band goes from here.