The Rakes, Mean Fiddler, London

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The Independent Culture

Beyond what could be dull social realism, Capture/Release also offers a dreamily heightened sense of mystery, in lyrics that encompass the Berlin Wall's metaphysical effect and evolution, and music of slippery surprise.

The final element in The Rakes' rapid rise is a riotous live reputation, but here, at least tonight, they fall frustratingly short. The crowd are certainly up for it - clutching hands reach towards The Rakes' spindly singer Alan Donohoe. But, deprived of Paul Epworth's superb recorded sound, the band struggle.

They open with "Terror!", their eerily prophetic, paranoid nightmare of a terrorist attack on London, perhaps wisely letting it pass without further comment. But some chat from Donohoe would be welcome, as his band essay a pell-mell punk attack that crushes too many of the strange quirks that make them stand out on record.

It's only during a rough three-song suite about the perils of alcohol that The Rakes come close to the heights they're capable of. On "Work, Work, Work (Pub, Club, Sleep)", Donohoe, beer bottle in hand, almost teeters over while repeating the muffled lyrics, "S'okay! S'okay!". On "The Guilt", a bitter hangover lament, the band drop out, leaving an a cappella Donohoe to bemoan "my circulation". Then "Violent" crashes into a binge's worst consequences, with Jamie Hornsmith's slashing bass finally adding something in the heat of the live moment that the album's thuggish version can't touch.

By The Rakes' breakthrough song, "22 Grand Job", the crowd are punching the air: a hint, hopefully, of better gigs to come, when this band realise their record's promise.