Thursday, May 21, 2009

Review: White Rabbits - It's Frightening

Rating: 7.5
Released: May 19, 2009
TBD Records

Yes, this is another indie band named after an animal.

Yes, they have two drummers.

Yes, it sounds like Spoon, thanks in no small part to silvery-sheen production from Spoon frontman Britt Daniel.

Yes, it's one of the best rock albums of the year so far.

No, Grace Slick is nowhere to be seen.

Brooklyn-based White Rabbits, touted for their sharp hooks and minimalist approach, deliver on their sophomore record.

Their debut, 2007's Fort Nightly, was that rare debut that sounded like it was made by decades-old rock vets. It was polished, the tunes were dramatic and they lent themselves to singalongs.

All the keys were there for a big splash.

The big splash never really came, but It's Frightening finds the Rabbits playing to their strengths, which is seamless pop songs driven by the left end of the piano.

Like Spoon, the Rabbits recording approach likely requires hours of trimwork. The best songs sound shaved to their most basic elements - eerie vocals, chugging keys, and amped up drums and bass.

The rhythm section, much like in Spoon's 2002 opus Kill the Moonlight, is the star. It's true that Daniels has a formula, but it works.

Frontmen Greg Roberts and Stephen Patterson record menaced, harmonic vocals with the right amount of pretty to keep it pop.

"They done wrong/and we done wrong/ what makes you so certain all their fingerpointing's done," Roberts sings in paranoid album highlight "They Done Wrong/We Done Wrong."

A low-end piano riff keeps the track gassed until the shimmering, melodramatic coda straight out of a Sigur Ros cookbook.

Other songs like the aptly titled album opener "Percussion Gun," employ Spoon and Cold War Kids tricks - the dark guitars and soaring vocals - to make indie drama ripe for the radio. More power to ya.

- SoR

1 comment:

Brian said...

i love this album. this, the grizzly bear, and roman candle's new album are my top three of the year so far.