QC REVIEW: THE RAKES – KLANG

by cheryl santa maria

When British post-punk quartet The Rakes announced their split in late October, I, like others, was shocked.  As a starving writer who’s been busting her ass seven days a week for a small breadcrumb of recognition, I cannot understand why a talented (and successful) group like The Rakes would up and walk away from the notoriety they’ve worked so hard to achieve – and right before the start of a tour, no less.

Artist: The Rakes
Song: That’s The Reason


What makes the split even more painful, for me at least, is the fact that Klang is a phenomenal album definitely one of my favorite releases from 2009.

Klang (which is the German word for “sound”) is a one-two punch of an album with slap-happy riffs and witty lyrics.  It was brought to fruition in the steely streets of Berlin a deliberate move on the part of The Rakes who, upon growing bored with the London music scene, longed to create an album that would encapsulate the political upheaval and defiance that defines Eastern Germany.

Klang made its U.S. debut on October 27 in a digital format, but not before receiving a lot of acclaim overseas.  Its March release in the U.K. sparked a bit of a Rakes revival; those who had written the band off in 2007 after a lackluster reception of Capture/Release appeared to be pleasantly surprised with the grittiness of Klang.

The album moves quickly, clocking in at just under thirty minutes.  Beginning with “You’re in It,” a fast-paced song that calls to mind, for me at least, old school Pulp and maybe a little Siouxie and the Banshees, it then moves on to “That’s the Reason,” an admirable contender for the drinking/party song of 2009 and the album’s second official release.

“1989″ pays homage to the year the Berlin wall came down, while “The Light From Your Mac” depicts lead singer Alan Donohoe’s drunken attempt to snag some booty. The Final Hill” is a fast-paced song about being “fucked by the institution.”

Despite being all over the place, Klang wraps up into a nice, tidy package a respectable last album from a great, albeit dead, band.

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