The Rapture formed in 1998 by keyboardist Chris Relyea, drummer Vito Roccoforte and guitarist/vocalist Luke Jenner. In 1999 the band released its debut 'mini-album', Mirror. Following this release, the band relocated to New York. They were finally joined by Matt Safer having gone through five keyboard players and two bassists in an eighteen-month period. After touring extensively for two years, the band released the six-song EP Out of the Races and Onto the Tracks on the Sub Pop label, with the lead track featuring in the film adaptation of the Bret Easton Ellis novel The Rules Of Attraction. The Rapture were forerunners of the post-punk revival of the early 2000s, as they mixed their early post-punk sound with electronic and dance elements via their collaboration with the celebrated New York production team DFA. Multi-instrumentalist Gabriel Andruzzi joined the band in 2002. Their first full-length record, Echoes, was released to critical acclaim in 2003, including album of the year by pitchforkmedia.com.
In January 2004, the Rapture acted as main support to Funeral for a Friend on the NME Awards Tour, alongside other burgeoning acts Franz Ferdinand and The Von Bondies. Later that year, the band toured on the main stage of the Curiosa Festival alongside Interpol, Scarling., Mogwai, Cursive, Thursday, The Cooper Temple Clause, Head Automatica, and their own idols, The Cure.
Also in 2004, the band released a DVD, Is Live, and Well, in New York City through DFA Records/Mercury Records Limited.
The Rapture released their second full-length album, Pieces of the People We Love, on Universal Motown Records in September 2006. Paul Epworth, Ewan Pearson and Danger Mouse produced the album. The new album displays a more polished and markedly less angular sound to their previous work, receiving a mixed critical reception.
The Rapture supported The Killers on the London leg of their tour at the Carling Academy Brixton from 26 November 2006 to 28 November 2006 and Daft Punk on the North American leg of their tour in 2007.
"No Sex for Ben" is featured in The Music of Grand Theft Auto IV a soundtrack that is bundled with the special edition version of Grand Theft Auto IV. This song was number 26 on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Best Songs of 2008.
The song "Echoes" plays in a scene of the film Superbad.
The song "The Devil" plays in a scene during the episode "Rocket Club" in the television series Aliens in America.
Similar bands in the same NY scene/dance punk genre include Radio 4 and !!!.
Their song, “Whoo! Alright, Yeah…Uh Huh” is the official anthem for Red Bull New York of Major League Soccer. The same song is used on the EA sports game Madden 2007 under the name "W.A.Y.U.H."
The Rapture worked with Michael Vermillion of Gogogo Airheart on their first album "Echoes". On the original cover, Luke is wearing a Gogogo pin. Chris Relyea, the original synth player, and Teri Hoefer, Gogogo Airheart's violin player, married and started their own band together. Meanwhile, the two bands toured together with different lineups in 2001, playing in New York City at Brownie's, The Empty Bottle in Chicago, and the Middle East in Boston. Gogogo Airheart's influence can be heard throughout Echoes and Out of the Races and Onto the Tracks, especially when comparing "House of Jealous Lovers" to Gogogo Airheart's "When Introductions Begin".