It's an unfortunate reality that faster than you can say, "Are you gonna be my girl?" the buzz band of the moment has been lavished with premature praise, hyped to high heaven, ridiculed, and swiftly discarded by the Pitchfork-reading masses. It's literally impossible to discuss the Strokes (or more recently, the Arcade Fire) without a reference to that phenomenon, yet there was a brief window of time when people were genuinely excited about those bands—and for good reason. With that in mind, I'd like to let you know that it's safe to believe the hype about the Rakes, provided you appreciate cheeky, intelligent pop with a melodic punk bite.

Speaking in a nearly impenetrable British accent via phone after sound check at a Boston venue, guitarist Matthew Swinnerton is impressively humble about the accolades being lobbed the Rakes' way since the stateside release of Capture/Release (V2). He's also pragmatic about the long-term investments that may be required of them. "You do want to do well, and if it requires a hard slog of gigging around the country, we'll do it," he tells me earnestly. Having obviously absorbed the tart-tongued delivery of peers like the Streets and Art Brut, treading the pop-punk path well-worn by Wire, and exhibiting the sort of watertight sound that only comes from obsessive rehearsals and youthful energy, the Rakes are perfectly poised to be our next shooting stars. Let's just try not to shoot them down too quickly, shall we?

hlevin@thestranger.com

Sponsored
2021 Social Justice Film Festival: ACTIVATE | REFUGE Online
Screening 50+ films that inspire and demand community action, October 7-17 at socialjusticefilmfestival.org.