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Ten New Messages

This is the second album from The Rakes, their debut Capture/Release having reaped considerable critical acclaim, and even some modest chart success, in their native UK.

Rating: 4 / 10

Kilian Murphy, 21 Mar 2007

This is the second album from The Rakes, their debut Capture/Release having reaped considerable critical acclaim, and even some modest chart success, in their native UK.

The progression from first album to second is often akin to that of a mid-table Premiership footballer moving to a title-chasing club; sustaining previously-acceptable standards is no longer satisfactory – a progression (or even just a greater level of consistency) – is required, to keep the detractors at bay.

If this is the case, then The Rakes may be the Jermaine Pennants of the rock world (the Michael Carricks, if we’re being kind).

This follow-up is far too inconsequential to be a sophomore stormer; it’s short, relatively one-paced, decidedly monochromatic and devoid of killer singles. Worth 18 months’ wait? Hardly.

Only on the third track do we catch a glimpse of what may make The Rakes a tantalising proposition; ‘We Danced Together’ contains some surprisingly-angelic backing vocals, a pleasing counterpoint to the band’s laboured metronomic stomp.‘Suspicious Eyes’ is another promising number, but is ruined by a poor collaborative decision. Guest vocalists should only be invited onto an album if the texture and timbre of their voice can improve an individual track – if the reverse is true, then they should not be present. Raxstar (a promising Asian rapper, based in the UK) arrives to deliver a rhyme that may have been pleasing in a different context, but proves jarring and misplaced within this one.

The remainder of Ten New Messages passes by without any real sonic excitement; we’re treated to less-interesting takes on the work of Bloc Party and The Libertines, low on hooks and utterly devoid of interesting production quirks. If this is the future of British rock, than maybe it’s time to start rolling the credits.
Rating: 4 / 10

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