White Rabbits – It’s Frightening

By Ian Snell

If you receive an album titled ‘It’s Frightening’ you expect to receive something covered in angst, terror and paranoia. It should hint at the end of the universe whilst never allowing you space to breath.  White Rabbits have attempted to create this feeling with a combination of dual drummers and heavy piano chords, which, at its best, boasts similarities with Radiohead’s ‘In Rainbows’. 

Certainly on opening track ‘Percussion Gun’ the drums do enough to inspire a sense of dread and foreboding.  Elsewhere ‘Lionesse’ has an intro that comes across like an excellent dark comic book movie adaptation before drifting aimlessly into a briefly deranged jam session.  It is this drift that sums up the entirety of the Rabbits follow up to 2007s ‘Fort Nightly’.  Too often you find yourself listening to a piece of the album, feeling the tension rise only for it to quickly dissipate.  The dark, oppressive and claustrophobic atmosphere generated when the album is at its best is not maintained when the album is at its worst.

Lyrically too the album breaks no new ground. A few quick turns of phrases, as you’d expect from a New York band, and a nod to the Clash on ‘Rudie Fails‘ coupled with its punk refrain of ‘no I don’t care at all’.  But frequently the vocals lack the gravitas to augment the bands work, neither as deep and rich as Interpol or strained as the Walkmen, it rarely adds to the music. 

However, any criticism of this album only comes from the fact that it is so apparent that this band can do better, much better.  On this there is a feeling that the surface has only been scratched, with a deep vein of form lying somewhere beneath.  It is a record that is frustratingly good, but frustratingly not good enough for a band with this potential.

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