Live: Cruel Paranoia & Crushing Low. The Rapture, O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire.

Suffice to say dance-punks The Rapture never bettered the twitchy, pilled-up resonances of the DFA-released, Murphy/ Goldsworthy-produced Echoes. Listen back to it now and its eleven tracks sound fresher than most first times, demonstrating Luke Jenner's negation of the perennially rhapsodised clich̩ that is "second album syndrome" (categorising mini-album Mirror the debut for the sake of cohesive argument). Conversely it's been the past few (Pieces of the People We Love and In the Grace of Your Love) that've provoked substantially less adoration Рand indeed with it admiration Рthan the final syllable in each respective title may intimate. Thus where does that leave what tonight looks a depleted outfit that periodically seems to have subscribed to a somewhat defeatist attitude? Seek beyond drop and ye shall find...

Stumbling down dimly lit steps, nostrils pumped full of the heavy stench of ATP hotdogs the effervescent Kraut pummel of ingenius London noiseniks Factory Floor largely falls on deaf ears. If disinterested when they commence, they're indubitably yet more deaf still by the time they conclude a filthily euphoric Two Different Ways. Its sturdy, persistent ritmo is reassumed after a short twiddle of thumb and investigation of email by the lethargic Club Tropicana ambiences of The Rapture's In the Grace of Your Love: with a four-to-the-floor thwack and interjected toots of sax it's perhaps an ill-judged opener, primarily as it sounds irrevocably like midset stodge about as delectable as the tubed meat beneath commercial grill at the back of the room. Lyrically too it's murderous, Jenner breathing expired meanings of "No one can ever die" and such stuff. Hurried along at an almost identical BPM is Never Die Again and although pertaining musically to the pelvis-thrusting sax appeal of early Scissor Sisters once more, lyrically, it's a little vacuous as Jenner consoles himself as he grimaces: "Never never never gonna see ya/ Never gonna die again." If it may have been scribed with his dear mater in mind then the juxtaposition of guitars profusely soused in treble and post-suicide lyrics, as the crowd moves oddly in one sultry, unified slither, is just unfathomably weird. "Play a good song now" a passively aggressive customer cusses through gritted front teeth and Pieces of the People We Love is, arguably, just about that. Its clunky bass brasher than the Meatpacking District, each thud sounds full enough to shatter diaphragm into umpteen smithereens of gore, Jenner tapping away nonchalantly on his fretboard all the while. At least if its hooliganistic, primitive chorus of "Nah nah nah" may never clinch an Ivor Novello, the track itself proves more memorable than a plethora of contemporaries to have seized said accolade.

However the eve in its entirety serves predominantly to exhibit just how temporary – in place of contemporary – The Rapture are or indeed always were, as despite only coming to prominence over the duration of the past decade tonight already feels like bona fide nostalgic indulgence. Their touring bassist a little bulkier and a lot balder than the artistically different and subsequently departed Matt Safer, it's as though they've to squeeze into the musically hybridised mindset of 2006 on a rapturous Get Myself Into It, its title assimilating newfangled entendre. Its invitingly repetitive chorus remains superb and, having developed an apparent immunity to the corrosiveness of time, it's a shiny pop stud the sort never to have again been excavated while mining the mind for creative inspiration. The Devil features the fiendish cowbell assaults and somersaulting lo-fi guitars of Echoes, smacking the sound out the park with propensities redolent of Daft Punk at their most (figuratively) dishevelled and disco before Jenner recedes to the very back of the stage. He stretches, paunch protruding from beneath striped attire; cracks knuckles and clicks fingers, eventually shaping up for Killing. It's far cleaner than it once was, its scatty sprawls of gleaming white Strat toned down and honed into something that it seemingly was never meant to be – like if Jenner were to become minatory skinhead – but it's an invigorating reminder of what we once adored so, as is a wondrously possessed House of Jealous Lovers. Bolstered by clacking bells and a significantly more languid feel, it's a rare moment worth revelling in and its rabid reception suggests they could carry on 'til the proverbial cows were to come home. Nigh on a decade on it still stands resolute; a flabbergasting example of efficient structural simplicity; its lyrics countable on two hands raised aloft in unadulterated jubilation. That it does so without ever descending into an irascible idiocy is perhaps its greatest strength and here hindsight certainly makes the heart grow fonder.

Given such ecstatic high however, cruel paranoia and crushing low are surely preordained to follow: the disorientated discomfort contained within the acid house synths of Olio covers the former quite brilliantly and, as with tonight's set and other things, takes a while to kick in once settled in the stomach although the gruesome Balearia of Come Back To Me – equal parts Plastikman and Mr. Saxobeat – is a pill bitter in comparison. The segueing Sail Away meanwhile proves repugnantly boorish although in accordance with the whimsical fluctuation in quality, the jittering post-punk grunt to Echoes takes the edge off the horror. It's better yet once Jenner descends into a fit of fleeting lunacy, his mood caught midswing between exultance and defeatism, his eyes heavy and set back in bags of shade.

Yet perhaps the most bewildering and more pertinently disconnecting element is the general ambivalence and deficiency of enthusiasm onstage. To only play for a smidgen over an hour too elucidates a substantial degree of apathy thus even though things musical at times get hot and heady (in some instances to unrestrained extent) a disco-infused soirée that ought to have felt somewhat celebratory seems rather flat. "What's happening English people?" Jenner inarticulately blathers, before hurtling through the ebullient nonsense of Children: like Foster The People fronted by child star destined for adolescent destruction, it's a flimsy indie pop by numbers schmaltz that brings to immediate attention a distinct lack of youth about the place: you sense they've moved off elsewhere. Maybe to watch Splashh across town. Maybe they're now in Splashh even. Irregardless, if Jenner may appear an ungainly, oversized indie kid at heart then it would also appear as though he now resides in the internal organs of ever fewer. For pieces of things we love remain yet they are but chipped fragments. How Deep Is Your Love is one such shard although any affection now feels anything but unconditional.