White Rabbits - Itís Frightening
Record Label: TBD Records
Release Date: May 19, 2009
Swagger is an asset that even some great bands do not posses, but on White Rabbitís 2007 debut album Fort Nightly, the band was brimming with it. The New York-via-Missouri collective were dynamic with frenetic energy and precise skill. The LP was the type that has indie hipsters swooning and even those who would want to hate it because said hipsters dig it toe-tapping along.
However, White Rabbitsí newest effort, Itís Frightening, seems like a completely different band. The music is devoid of the charm and pep the previous LP exuded. A lot has been made in the press that Spoonís Britt Daniel produced Itís Frightening, but it hardly seems like a plus. Daniel brings along the subdued rock sound of Spoon. Itís the polar opposite of Fort Nightly, and that is rather upsetting.
Percussion has always been the key strength of White Rabbits, but on Itís Frightening the beats and rhythm feel forced on listener. The problem is that with such a heavy focus on the drums, everything else in the sonic landscape seems to be ignored. The mix is just awful. The percussion is so blatantly forefront it makes you wonder if Daniel hated everything else. The piano sounds, for example, are so held back that itís easy to forget they are on the album at all. It is not until the fourth track (ĒLionessĒ) that the keys have anything noticeable, and thatís only a few quick flairs. Stephen Pattersonís piano prowess is one of the main aspects that provide White Rabbitsí music with liveliness, but itís almost entirely non-existent on this album. The musical skill of the band members is still clear, itís just far from being nurtured and used the way it should be.
The vocals also lack a punch. They seem hushed and never reach the fever pitch White Rabbits is capable of. On top of that, the only memorable thing about the lyrics is how often they repeat, which is far from ideal.
To put it plainly, there are only one or two songs that are even good on this album. ďThe Lady VanishesĒ is far and away the cream of the crop with a lighter feel than what is found on much of Itís Frightening. The music is actually interesting, with the guitars and piano playfully playing off one another. ďCompany I KeepĒ is also not half-bad, being vaguely reminiscent of a Minus the Bear acoustic feel.
After multiple listens donít be surprised if you canít remember a single tune, melody, or line from Itís Frightening. Itís Dull would probably be a more apt title. Absolutely nothing sticks in the mind. It's a shame for such a talented band to completely miss the mark.