The name Rapture Ruckus may not mean much to those outside New Zealand, however this electronic influenced act have brought something worth listening to with Invader Vol. 2. This EP could be just what you’re looking for if you want something to bring a smile to your face.
New Zealanders spending long periods of time in the USA is nothing new, with Lorde and others making the country home for large parts of their lives. So it was inevitable that fresh faced band Rapture Ruckus from Wellington, New Zealand would move from down under to Nashville, Tennessee as they signed to BEC (a sub label of alternative label Tooth and Nails). That was back in 2010, we are now in 2015 and the band is finally finding their teeth, and a little bite to go along with them.
Previous albums have been heavily electronic and hip-hop based and although they had a great following they were still very fresh sounding, and maybe even a bit green. Invader Vol. 2 is deeper and more jam-packed than anything the band has brought before. While the sound is still very heavily bent toward electronic based hip-hop, not unlike the kind of stuff that The Black Eyed Peas brought out with their later releases, Rapture Ruckus have really dug deep into other genres.
“Fire to the Night” literally lights the album up with a really great combination of an electronic groove that leads to a heavy guitar driven chorus. It’s actually really clever as it finds a balance between the band’s own sound and something that reminds me of a reboot of Rage Against the Machine.
This leads perfectly into “Boomerang” which starts off with a siren type screech that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Lil John collaboration. It quickly finds its groove in a clap based beat with an electronic groan setting its pace, before once again you find yourself rocking with “Bring your beat back like a boomerang.” It’s a very crunk rock laden chorus served on a heavy guitar and beat.
“Mr Roboto” sounds like someone sampled some Lenny Kravitz and layered a dance beat over the top. While this is a fun track that will surely inspire crows of people doing the robot dance en masse it seems a bit weak compared to the rest of the album. But then you never know, with the cyber brothers of Daft Punk doing well with Cyber Funk this could be a real hit.
“Mindfield” is a great example of how Rage Against the Machine would sound if they were less rock and more electronic. If Family Force 5 were still writing songs as great as this crunk rock influenced song they would been proud to have this on their album. Maybe touring with each other has been a great influence on Rapture Ruckus with Brad Dring laying down some well laid fast action rap licks, and it’s very tasty.
The album finishes with “Paralax”, an electronic track with Dring rapping over top. It’s more of a UK sounding rap with the pre-chorus breaking down into a Will Smith style “switch” clap beat of “one step forward, two steps back” which breaks up the song nicely.
This is a solid EP and it’s a sign of a band developing and growing. It feels like Invader (both Vol. 1 and Vol. 2) has been a taster, a tester – a dipping their toes in the water for what interests them. They’ve played with new sounds, new influences and mixing alternative rock guitar with EDM beats. If this EP is to show case the way the band wants to go, I think they’re on the right track. They need to push forward into giving the songs more depth and layers, as sometimes the songs could be predictable and a bit ‘same’ for parts of it. It seems that these songs are less about the album and more about the performance so it would be worth seeing this band live. What could be better than a rock show and dance party all in one?