Yay! New music time!
I was contacted by a band called The Black Rabbits (Hi, Black Rabbits!) who asked if I’d have a listen to their self-titled EP which looks like this:
I said “Can do.” (Or something like that.)
By the way, I was going to be facetious and head today’s post with this picture…
…but then I realised that was a very poor joke. Plus, the band members don’t actually look like those rabbits. They look like this:
Right, that’s enough of the awful jokes. To the music!
I had a listen to the EP. If you’d like my three-word review, here it is:
“Peter liked it.”
But if you want the longer, more pointless review where I get stuck into commenting on each track, then here it is:
Track 1. “Hurry, Hurry“
I don’t quite know why, but as soon as this started with its vocal-less, mid-tempo, insistent Franz Ferdinand-style staccato beat, I became impatient, thinking “When’s the singing going to start?”. It took eight bars of that instrumental staccato beat (A full 16 seconds! Almost scandalous!) before the singing started, but it did and then I thought to myself: “Well, that wasn’t too long after all. What was the problem, you impatient fool?”
Unfortunately for the band, and to add insult to the aforementioned “no singing” injury, when the singing did start the melody reminded me a lot of – believe it or not – the 1970’s rock version of “The Lord’s Prayer” by Australian nun Sister Janet Mead. Yes, really. See if you can hear the similarity:
But after all of that nonsense I settled into the song, stopped thinking about Franz Ferdinand and Sister Janet Mead, and took the song for what it was (i.e., a song by The Black Rabbits). I didn’t mind “Hurry, Hurry”. (Just between you and me, I didn’t love the song, I thought it was just OK – but I guess the band wouldn’t want to hear that, so I won’t tell them.)
Update: after hearing this song three times, I like it a little more than I did a couple of sentences ago.
Track 2: “For Way Too Long Now“
I liked this song much more than the first one. And I really liked the chorus. I can’t really think of much to say about this track, because I’m enjoying the melodies, the vocal delivery (i.e., the way it’s sung), its unhurriedness, the non-frenetic way it’s played, the solid beat etc. About the only thing I didn’t care for was the guitarist’s insistence on playing C sharp major in the verses instead of C sharp minor. Grrr.
[Distracting sidenote: This “playing the wrong chord” caper reminds me of a song that appeared on this blog ages ago. It’s Splitsville’s “Tears Are Cool” and it has a chord in the chorus that gives me the heebie jeebies every time I hear it. Grrr2.]
Track 3: “Hypno Switch“
This one was a bit more garage-y than the previous two. I preferred it to the first track (Sister Janet Mead!) but didn’t like it as much as the second track (the one with the mighty decent chorus). Maybe it’s because I didn’t think the main “ba-da-da” vocal hook was terribly strong. But then again, melody isn’t the strong point of garage-y songs. It’s the beat, man, and the attitude (which, I guess if I want to keep up with young-person lingo, I’ll have to say “it’s the ‘tude, dude”). I did like the musical non-sequitir at the end of the track, though: at 2:18 when the band stops there’s a piano going plink-plink-plink-plink and the song fades out on that. That’s the only time a piano appears in the song. I like that.
Track 4: “Emotion“
Yep. This was my second-favourite song on the EP. (My favourite is track two, “For Way Too Long Now”.) Great hand-claps in this one. Incidentally, this song had that plink-plink-plink-plink piano from the previous song in it. It’s entirely possible that The Black Rabbits created a miniature-concept-album moment, where the plink-plink-plink-plink piano is subconsciously letting you know that the next song’s going to have it as well. Or maybe they didn’t.
Update: after four listens, I think I like it more than track two. Maybe. How about I split the difference and just say that I like ’em both?
Track 5: “Painter, Poet, Prophet, Priest“
This is where The Black Rabbits get all low-key and thoughtful with a Country-tinged acoustic effort. And I thought it was a nice way to end the EP.
Overall, I liked The Black Rabbits’ EP. I liked the vocals, both main and background. Now, this may seem an insult to the band’s songwriting abilities, but my favourite aspect of the EP was its production. It sounds spacious, and not too overcrowded with instruments. I usually like a lot of instruments on a rock track (where there are hopefully plenty of interesting things to listen to), but I thought the slight sparseness here suited the songs. However – and this is purely personal taste – I wouldn’t have minded more distortion on some of the guitar parts. But I’m not in the band, or produced the EP, so I don’t get a say in it. (Plus it’s already been recorded, you dolt.)
I’ve listened to the EP six times now (which isn’t difficult, as it only lasts 15 minutes), and can say that I found it an enjoyable experience.
So, in conclusion, ladies and gentlemen of the juke box jury, may I submit to you that The Black Rabbits have made an EP that’s possibly worth your time. Fourteen minutes and thirty-nine seconds of your time, to be precise.*
(*Boy, that paragraph was even more pretentious than the previous ones. I’m seriously considering deleting it.)