The London indie four on album three...

Recorded in Berlin after the band expressed their dislike of Britain’s dull capital city, ‘Klang!’ delivers ten short and sharp punches that suggest London foursome The Rakes are rather revitalised after a so-so second LP back in 2007.

Said album, ‘Ten New Messages’, wasn’t without its plus points, but the taut and direct indie act of debut effort ‘Capture/Release’ were bogged down with not repeating the sound over again, and attentions on the actual material’s quality came a second to the desire to progress aesthetically. ‘Klang!’, though, find cylinders firing at near enough full capacity, with opener ‘You’re In It’ setting an early tempo of urgency. But never are the band’s key angles of accessibility overlooked, so while the song rattles by speedily, it’s the catchiness of debut-album Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party.

Producer Chris Zane – who’s shaped the forthcoming debut from Passion Pit and previously worked on records by Les Savy Fav and The Walkmen – allows The Rakes’ somewhat trademark itchiness to exude itself from these tracks, but there’s glossiness atop the jagged structures which presents to the fore a rediscovered radio friendliness. So while Alan Donohoe spits no little vitriol, knowledgeable of backlash critics with ears only for the here-today-gone-tomorrow sorts, the music’s vibrancy keeps ears focused on joviality over prickly analysis.

The appalling titled ‘Bitchin’ In The Kitchen’ struts with a peculiar funkiness that The Rakes have rarely demonstrated before – it’s a surprising high given how it stands out from past form, all silken moves and swinging hips, with a particularly sultry vocal giving way to a Wild Beasts howl (‘Shackleton’ plots a similar course, too, descending into frantic yelps). Lead single ‘1980’ is more standard fare, but serves as a suitable bridge piece to translate former glories to the contemporary Rakes landscape. It’s as revolutionary as cassette-shaped USB sticks, but that doesn’t mean it’s not wanted.

And, ultimately, that’s what ‘Klang!’ seems to deliver: something expected, and something not so, to appease the hardcore and pleasantly surprise the cynical. Recording in East Berlin hasn’t given the album a steely coldness, an icy attitude that cracks whenever the band’s heart beats that bit faster; rather, it’s an open-armed embracing of its makers' past and an enlightening vision of their future.

And, all told, a breezily entertaining listen – clocking in at under 30 minutes, ‘Klang!’ isn’t likely to test too many boundaries of patience – which solidifies The Rakes’ position as domestic indie sorts with something more relevant than most to say for themselves. So, London ain’t so dull after all…


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