London four piece The Rakes ascended the indie ranks at the same time as Franz Ferdinand, Editors and Bloc Party, but have thus far failed to replicate the success of all three of those bands. The reason for their 'indie anti-hero' status could be explained by their lack of a succession of hits; although their 2005 single '22 Grand Job' remains their most well-known song, there was no 'Take Me Out', 'Blood' or 'Helicopter' in their canon.
A subtle change of direction for their second album slowed down their progress further. The Rakes had previously been a band who breezed through sub-three-minute indie-rock tunes with the tenacity of a superhero on amphetamines, but 2007's 'Ten New Messages' saw them stretch some songs out unnecessarily - and ultimately, to their disadvantage.
At just 29 minutes long, 'Klang' marks a returns to the efficiency of their debut. Recorded in Berlin last winter, its title refers both to its German conception and the fact that some of these tracks have the effect of a dumbbell dropping from a tenth-storey window: 'That's the Reason''s initial monotonous beat explodes into colour and life with its catchy chorus, while 'The Woes of the Working Woman' sounds like Talking Heads meets The Blockheads.
Their lyrics are as droll as ever, too; with song titles like 'The Loneliness of the Outdoor Smoker' and 'The Light of Your Mac', Alan Donohue is still entwining his juddering vocals with songs about parties, everyday life/strife and witty observations on relationships. His trademark verbosity, however, is tempered by the aforementioned sprightly soundtrack, with 'Shackleton' and 'Bitchin' in the Kitchen' providing some particularly danceable riffs and basslines.
They may have been left behind while some of their contemporaries filled arenas, but The Rakes are still making completely enjoyable music on their own terms - and you get the feeling that they wouldn't have it any other way, either.