Jan 22, 2010 Web Exclusive
How much faith can one have in a band that breaks up in the wake of the release of their third album? Shame really as The Rakes' third-time-is-a-charm effort, Klang sounds like the British quartet is sticking to what it knows best: Taut and punchy energy that defined them since their debut, Capture/Release. This same aggression is what carried them through their "difficult" (not for them, for the unresponsive public/critics) second album, Ten New Messages. Plus, it is this minimalist, no fluff and padding approach to rock 'n' roll that we like the best about The Rakes.
Recorded in (the former) East Berlin, Klang clocks in at a concise half-hour. Despite the brevity, or because of it, Klang's bite-size songs do the job. No room for self-musing, these 10 tracks get straight to the point. The angular "That's The Reason" jabs away with spiky riffs whose edges soften just a bit on the chorus, making the attack a pleasant one. La-la-las sound positively profound on "1989," particularly when they are balanced against simple, jangle-happy twangs.
Klang's directness must be credited in large part to vocalist/lyricist Alan Donohoe's wry, self-deprecating humor, which is aimed inward as much as it is outward. Here's a rock star that fumbles rather than conquers in carnal territory—how refreshing. And who can't relate to the pitying "The Loneliness Of The Outdoor Smoker?" Even non-smokers can.
Considering Klang is only half the length of a "normal" album, you can play it again. You know you want to. (www.therakes.co.uk)
Author rating: 7/10
Average reader rating: 6/10