For Echoes, the Rapture worked with the scuzzily storied New York dance duo the DFA. "Their great accomplishment with us was not like they introduced the Rapture to the cowbell," says Safer. "Their great accomplishment was getting a band that at various points wanted to kill each other to finish an album."
This time around, the band had a new roster of producers: indie-dance remixers Paul Epworth and Ewan Pearson, and Gnarls Barkley beatmaker Danger Mouse. "We felt like we had done everything we needed to do going in, so we just followed those maps and got everything laid out," Safer says. "What both Paul and Ewan and Danger Mouse did for them was help accentuate some of the things we wanted to do for them and what works, bring them out more and retool the arrangements."
The band also met with the avant-pop club-rap genius Timbaland. "He liked our band and wanted to do something," Safer says. "If you look at what he's been coming out with recently, it makes sense." Unfortunately, they couldn't quite afford him"Even if he cuts us a great deal, it's still more than we're able to afford," Safer admits. "Which is a shame."
Still, it's weird that Pieces hit stores on September 12, the same day Justin Timberlake released his Timbaland-driven coke-disco opus FutureSex/LoveSounds. Both ride expansive waves of glittering beats to create a sweeping sense of awe at the transformative possibilities of pop music. The Rapture aren't a dance-punk band because they aren't a punk band anymore. They might not have a pop pedigree or a pop audience, but pop is what they are.