The inevitable comedown arrived as well. "Oh, what a heavy burden The Rapture must bear," began Pitchfork's Rob Mitchum in his review of Echoes' 2006
follow-up Pieces of the People We Love, before concluding that the album was "a step or three down" from its predecessor. NME was a bit more positive: "More than anyone else, save perhaps friend and past
collaborator James Murphy, The Rapture triggered off the post-punk revival that still … shows little sign of abating. So explosive were the
shockwaves from their breakthrough single … you can still feel it in any band welding shrill guitars to disco beats from Klaxons to CSS to
Kasabian to Shitdisco to, we'd be willing to wager, bits of the new Oasis album. In short, all other bands now sound like The Rapture… except, of
course, The Rapture."
The influential UK music magazine was hitting at a subtle but noticeable softening and polishing of the band's sound on Pieces, which had been
recorded with the help of high-profile dance producers Ewan Pearson and Paul Epworth. (Danger Mouse also produced two tracks.) Pieces also
saw bassist Mattie Safer play a larger role as a songwriter and vocalist, a development that, despite how upbeat the band sounded in the press at the time, spelled trouble for the years ahead. "I
started this band as a vehicle for my own songwriting," Jenner recently told Rolling Stone, but on Pieces, "[Mattie] wanted to write songs and … started taking up a lot more space … it became this power
struggle between Mattie and Gabe [Andruzzi] and … I lost that one."
Critical reaction to Pieces was uneven, which fed the growing feeling that dance punk was all but dead less than five years after it had become
relevant again. Prefix called it a "safe record," Q "a serious let-down" while Uncut demurred, "there's a sense of a moment having passed." Indeed, though bands like LCD Soundsystem—led
by James Murphy, who co-produced Echoes—Cut Copy and Justice surged in popularity, The Rapture suddenly seemed far less important.
Compounding this feeling was the appearance in 2008 of "No Sex For Ben," a one-off
collaboration with super producer Timbaland and Justin Timberlake for the Grand Theft Auto IV soundtrack. The track wouldn't have sounded out of
place on Timberlake's FutureSex/LoveSounds, released that same year. Though a fine song in its own right, "No Sex …" signaled that the
members of The Rapture were perhaps struggling to define themselves in the wake of Pieces. "… [It] was the total antithesis of what I felt
musically I wanted to do or what we should be doing," Roccoforte said in FADER. "It was a total different direction." The story notes a few lines earlier that Safer felt the exact opposite.
Life outside the band only enhanced the tumult. While on tour in 2008, Jenner's mother took her own life just months after he became a father himself.
That, combined with the desire to be more available to his family after years spent on the road, sent him into a sort-of existential tailspin. "I was
afraid of losing the band for so long that I forgot to take care of myself and state what was important to me," Jenner recently told Pitchfork. "I was really confused."