Ten years ago, in the days before 9/11, the Rapture was a relatively new New York band working on its first album for DFA. Since then, the band has almost inadvertently helped change the city’s music scene, ditched their record label, released a major-label record that’s generally considered a disappointment, taken up new families and faiths, and returned to DFA. It would be putting it mildly, then, to say that Saturday night’s show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, in support of their first album in five years, was a loaded affair. As vocalist Luke Jenner said in passing at one point, “A lot has happened.”
Luckily, Jenner and company turned in a remarkably assured performance, without any of the out-of-practice awkwardness one might’ve expected. It was easy to feel like every Rapture fan in Brooklyn (the true ones can be surprisingly hard to find) had packed the sold-out auditorium to see what would happen. And from the start of the opener, the title track off the new album, In the Grace of Your Love, they signaled their approval. The Williamsburg venue didn’t exist when the band released their last album, but the show nevertheless had the feeling of a homecoming.
Appropriately enough, the majority of the setlist was dedicated to what endeared the band, however ephemerally, to the indie-dance scene during the early 2000s. There was lots of good writhing on display for “House of Jealous Lovers,” “Olio,” and “Pieces of the People We Love,” but there were sadly only a few songs off the new album, set for release next month. Apart from “In the Grace of Your Love,” the band previewed “Never Die Again,” the single “How Deep Is Your Love?” (to which everyone dutifully stomped), and, during the encore, “Sail Away” and “It Takes Time to Be a Man,” which Jenner dedicated to his wife of 10 years.
That heartwarming aside was enough to shatter any notion that the Rapture is—or, perhaps, ever was—a prototypical Cool New York Band. They don’t date supermodels. They do yoga. There’s a sense of unembarrassed sincerity that’s all over the new material, both thematically and sonically: Jenner’s voice has become soulful and aching, even at times transcendent. “House of Jealous Lovers” is a dance-floor classic, but when the singer reached the blissful chorus of “How Deep Is Your Love?,” it was like a call to prayer. Whatever their past, the Rapture is still clearly very interested in their future.