Rapids! - Rapids!

Owain Paciuszko 14/08/2010

Rating: 2/5

Spiky indie-pop with half-spoken/half-sung vocals and toe-tapping jittery drums and Math-like guitars from Bournemouth quintet Rapids!. On opening track Fuses lead singer and synthesizer player Matt Holliday frantically intones; 'Through all this I can't find a way to get through', which sounds like a minor indie-kid mantra when bleated feverishly, but on paper doesn't mean that much. There are elements of Los Campesinos! rubbing up against the likes of Jamie T via Bloc Party, it's a mixture that works to the extent that they will earn airplay, they will provoke dancefloor shuffles, they will receive compliments, but there's little depth beyond the well-produced surface and an over-riding sense of familiarity to the tunes that makes them seem more borrowed that influenced-by.

The Elitist has a nice glitchy keyboard melody, that travels at a tempo totally at odds to its slow, menacing bassline. It all goes a bit Biffy Clyro come the climax, where Holliday begins panting; 'The sun falls down...' Elsewhere Inland Empire mellows things out a little bit, as it gathers itself together, turning into a jaunty little tune at odds with Holliday's despairing and nervous vocal; 'Fading, my focus is fading, what have I done?' Its strength lies in its nuance compared to the cut-n-pasted feel of the earlier tracks. Economics opens with a flurry of guitars, its feel turning on dimes from heavy to panicked and breathless, it doesn't quite work, but the emotions are worn better than elsewhere and the experimentalism is most welcome, capturing the feel of a charged and confused breakdown on a strange night.

Closing track Maps takes them back to the indie-stylings of earlier, winding up sounding like The Automatic going apocalyptic, and, sure it builds up, has lyrics you could sing along to and a beat that you can move to, but it lacks that special something on record that would make you want to do either of those things. Sandwiched between tunes at an indie disco Rapids! poppier moments would go down well, but wouldn't be remembered. They exhibit a pleasing flicker of ideas at the record's mid-point, but with not enough sustain to really make this something to recommend.