Rakta: III 12"

Iron Lung Records

$16.00

Brazil's RAKTA is back with 6 new powerfully feminine trips through the fog. Simultaneously claustrophobic and cavernous. You can feel pulsing bass and thundering battery intertwine, akin to a snake coiling around your leg, pulling you down into the murky vortex. A flourish of atmospheric keyboard and vocal clamor pulls you right back to the surface just in time to be sucker punched by silence. This garland will leave you reeling.

Our take: Honestly, I was kind of hot and cold on Rakta's earlier releases... wasn't too into the first 12", but liked the follow-up 7" and loved the Rakta Em Transe 7". However, I realize in retrospect that I didn't understand what they were trying to do. I guess that I thought that they wanted to be a Savages-type brooding post-punk band, and as anyone who reads this regularly knows, if you're going to do that sound it's got to have a lot of pop in the equation if you want to keep me interested, but Rakta are decidedly non-pop. However, after seeing them live I think I get it a lot more. While the post-punk sound of records like the first Siouxsie and the Banshees LP is certainly an element of Rakta's sound, I don't think they're trying to ape that aesthetic at all... in fact, I think that what Rakta really are is a fresh combination of post-punk and noise / experimental music. I like a lot of bands who cross over between those two styles, but I feel like the more obvious tack is to take the interesting sonic textures of noise music and apply them to a more pop-oriented song structure. However, Rakta really do the opposite, taking the bass-led arrangements and tom-heavy percussion patterns of post-punk, but using those as the base coat in a sound that's much more informed by experimental and avant-garde music. Songs aren't linear... they don't really have choruses, or really recognizable vocals for the most part. That being said, something keeps it away from having that inchoate feeling that a lot of noise music has... it's like Rakta are always just on the edge of transitioning into that super-catchy chorus, but they never quite do it, and that feeling of ungratified anticipation can be either frustrating or fulfilling, depending on the listener's perspective. So, if you want to enjoy this, don't concentrate on the band's reference points, concentrate on how they push against and defy those expectations, and you'll see what a genuinely, thrillingly exciting band Rakta is, particularly on this brilliant release.
Tags: 10s brazil female-fronted latin america melodic post-punk recommended