Sound — 7
The Rakes first album, Capture/Release was mainly renowned for it's drive within the rhythm section, and by no means for it's guitar playing. Yet with Ten New Messages this seems to have gone. Despite this the album is not a failure and if anything as improved the bands songwriting. The fourth song on the album 'Trouble' is written in a very similar style to the loud and punk-esque Capture/Release, yet away from this the band seemed to have entered a new era in their career. The opening track 'The World Was A Mess But His Hair Was Perfect' has a catchy guitar riff, and we find that drums and bass are much less prominent than we would expect from the rakes. 'Little Superstitions' and 'Leave The City and Come Home' leave out drums and base for a large sections and these are arguably two of the best songs on the album. In the most part the sound of the album is not as good as Capture/Release however it is still quite impressive.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics for Capture/Release were based mainly around the stress and strain of day to day life in the city, and Ten New Messages has also gone with a lyrical theme. This time it is based around the growing fear of terrorism in London life. Just looking at song titles we can see this clearly. 'The World was a Mess But His Hair Was Perfect', 'Leave The City and Come Home', 'Trouble' and Suspicious Eyes'. In suspicious eyes lead singer Alan Donohoe is accomponied by three other voices, one being his old school friend 'Raxstar' who raps about the stereotype of all muslims being terrorists. "Got a beard and a bag so they think I've got a bomb" he raps, yet this doesnt't sound malicious, more like he has pity on this who apllying him to this stereotype. Despite the success of their first album it still seems that a minor amount of fame has not gone to their head and their lyrics still refer to day to day life.
Overall Impression — 8
If I had to choose between buying Capture/Release or Ten New Messages it would most certainly be the latter. The Rakes have ditched their punk revival sound and turned themselves into a band who are priducing high quality alternative music. Despite this the album has an indie sound to it, which also adds to it's success. The increase in the volume of the guitar and quality of the riffs improves it greatly. However the Rakes still haven't found the perfect sound for them. If it were possible to in some way blend the two of their albums so far, you would have a classic album. Ten New Messages Lacks the drive that was behind their debut album, and it is this that stops it short of being a great album.