Album: The Rakes

Capture/Release, V2
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Already, the art-punk revival spearheaded by Franz Ferdinand and perfected by Kaiser Chiefs is starting to sound a tired and predictable in its less inspired manifestations. The latest exponents to wield the choppy guitars and jerky rhythms are The Rakes, whose debut album has the requisite brisk, buttoned-down style and anxious attitude, but still struggles to convince. With its scrubbed guitars, demotic vocal and European theme, a track like the opener "Strasbourg" ticks all the right boxes in its aping of the early Wire formula, but its impact is a good 28 years less startling. Some lines from "Retreat", their brittle, Talking Heads-ish song about anomie, could apply just as readily to their own situation: "I don't wanna miss out on anything/ At the same time, I feel the need to retreat/ Everything is temporary these days". There's a casual cynicism about Capture/Release which surfaces in the guilt of songs such as "22 Grand Job", "Open Book" and "The Guilt", and which festers in "Terror!", which finds the singer Alan Donohoe musing upon how "My job in the city won't matter no more/ When the network is down and my flesh is all torn". The sarky tone that must have seemed so clever when they recorded it now just seems brutal and ill-judged.