The Rapture/Radio 4
Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh
There is clearly an issue of geography surrounding this show. Are we in Edinburgh 2003? New York City-anytime in the past 25 years? Leeds in 1979? Alternatively, based on some of the audience attire, this could, with a few added Duran Duran songs, be an 1980s revival disco.
Here, young bands from New York City lovingly recreate the sounds of their city’s art-rock heritage with more than a smattering of recognition of what was going on this side of the Atlantic in the immediate aftermath of punk.
The large proportion of the crowd oblivious to the back catalogues of Gang of Four, Public Image Limited, and The Cure may find the end product less frustrating, but it is also testimony to this canon that Radio 4 and The Rapture, with these influences, still sound fresher than the majority of their peers. Both have some excellent songs, but Radio 4 seem the more rigid and orthodox. They seem to be trying harder and playing better, and, as such, lack some of the uncommunicative cool of the headliners. Calling All Enthusiasts and Dance To The Underground are fine examples of their craft, but it is difficult to see where they go from here.
The Rapture have more potential avenues, though musically and vocally they are less accomplished. For the most part, they are a collision of PIL and James Chance, but when they ditch the guitars on Olio, go disco on I Need Your Love, or produce an anthem like House of Jealous Lovers there is, to quote one of their heroes, Patti Smith, a sea of possibilities.