The Rakes write songs about working life, mundane routines, and escapism as shown on their acclaimed debut album Capture/Release that spawned the singles "22 Grand Job," "Work, Work, Work (Pub, Club, Sleep)," and "Retreat." Several of their singles have appeared in the UK top 40 list and their album Capture/Release reached #32 in the UK Album chart. Their take on working life has led some observers to describe them as the world's first post-David Brent band. The "22 Grand Job" video shows them playing in an office environment – one of the main themes to their songs.
The Rakes accompanied Franz Ferdinand on their 'You Could Have It So Much Better. ..' tour during the winter of 2005. They toured the UK throughout January and February 2006 – supported by White Rose Movement, Duels, Young Knives, Switches and Klaxons. Their London Astoria date sold out so far in advance that another two London dates – at Shepherd's Bush Empire – were added, which sold out. The Rakes Last London show was in March 2007 at Brixton Academy – This show, like all of their London dates so far, sold out. The band are booked to play at Jersey Live, an Indie/Rock festival in the Island of Jersey supporting The Fratellis and Kasabian.
The Rakes are quite famous for their fashion sense, and the particularly distinctive dress style: stripey tops or smart polo shirts, black drainpipe jeans and black trainers. They also associated with the brands Fred Perry, Dior Homme and Louis Vuitton. Fashion designer Hedi Slimane was said to be so impressed by the band's music and dress sense that he based one of his collections around them. The Rakes also provided the soundtrack to the Dior Homme fashion show, with the song "The World Was A Mess, But His Hair Was Perfect". The song is eighteen minutes long, but a shorter version of was used by the band whilst touring in support of their first album, and is included on their second album. This is the second single from Ten New Messages.
The last single from Capture/Release, "All Too Human", was released in the UK on 27 February 2006 and reached their best chart position (22) to date. It was their first new material since the release of Capture/Release in August 2005. The single enjoys a similar name to one of Friedrich Nietzsche's books, "Human, All Too Human" published in 1878. This is unlikely to be a coincidence as Alan Donohoe is rarely pictured without a book and is extremely interested in literature. The Rakes played at Trinity May Ball on 19 June 2006.
In 2006, they covered of the song Le poinçonneur des Lilas by the French singer Serge Gainsbourg. The Rakes' version was named Just a Man With A Job. It was for a covers album, entitled Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited, a project in which many bands (including Franz Ferdinand and Placebo) took part.
The Rakes' second album, Ten New Messages was released by V2 Records on 19 March 2007. This album was produced by Jim Abiss (who has also worked with Arctic Monkeys, Editors and Kasabian) and Brendan Lynch (who has worked with Primal Scream). It was recorded in Mayfair Studios in London during the autumn of 2006.
On speaking about the album, the singer Alan Donohoe stated that:
The album was inspired by a combination of choral music, the television show 24, Bond theme tunes, World War I poets and the Sugababes.
The Rakes have just completed their first tour of the UK since the release of Ten New Messages, including their biggest headline show to date including a sold out show at Brixton Academy.
|Year||Song||UK Singles Chart||Album|
|2005||"Work, Work, Work (Pub, Club, Sleep)"||#28||Capture/Release|
|2005||"22 Grand Job" (re-issue)||#39||Capture/Release|
|2006||"All Too Human"||#22||Capture/Release|
|2007||"We Danced Together"||#38||Ten New Messages|
|2007||"The World Was a Mess But His Hair Was Perfect"||Ten New Messages|