24 November 2016

Bad Rabbits - American Nightmare

Even at this busy time of year, I have felt the need to play Cover Roulette once again as is my want.  For a brief bit of background information, occasionally I pick an album to review based solely on the cover of the record.  Today, I am looking at the latest release from Bad Rabbits and what an image we have here ladies and gentlemen.  I have a feeling that people like Donald Trump would be straight on twitter to say how unfair the world is if he saw that image, a small child who is not Caucasian and is standing there, defying them and all they stand for.  Images can say a thousand words, this one had my attention as soon as I lay eyes upon it.  Now, who are Bad Rabbits?  Starting life in 2002 under the name The Eclectic Collective, until they changed their name in 2007 to Bad Rabbit.  They have released on studio album, 4 EP's, a remix album and various single.  They have had their music feature on WWE events and have toured the USA, UK and it sounds like it has been going upwards with a lot of hard work to make it all happen.  So, I love the cover, but will I love the music?
01 – Stalker

Starting off the album is the slightly creepy ‘Stalker’ which is from the point of view of the stalker, but it shows that person is in love with the victim.  When the person is trying to say that he is wanting to tie the person up and that they would never want to leave, then the stalker is being called and is the focus of attention.  It is an unsettling tune, starting off with a sinister and atmospheric opening, but as it progresses on, it mixes Classic, Alternative, Funk Rock with a dash of Hardcore in a way I have not heard for years.  The ending is explosive and it wraps around you with devastating display of rock which simmers till that finally few moments.

02 – Original

Funk Rock/Metal at its best here, a song that has some heavy assed bass, some precision guitar work and a drum master class.  Whilst ‘Stalker’ was creepy, this is one has a confident aura and it is a protest song about not giving up and facing up to their enemies who are looking on scared.  It is a different protest song, but it is one of the best I have heard this year.  Maybe as important as D’Angelo & The Vanguard & Kendrick Lamar.

03 – Clouds

This song is a contrast for me, Bad Rabbits seem to be mixing styles and textures in a way that I would not have previously thought was possible; Funk is mixed with dream pop, mixed with shoegazing, mixed with metal and a vocal performance which goes from beautiful low rumbling to high pitches that are approaching the territory where bats can see it.  This was the moment I really got on board with this album, it clicked straight away and it made everything else before and since on this record make sense.  It is one of the best on the album, it is amongst good company as well.

04 – Game of Chess

This song is a challenging number from the beginning to end, it is a technical class in making drama with not too much as they leave a lot of blanks between the notes and passages when instruments are waiting to perform.  But those silences are used to give a contrast when the band jump into life.  It has a fantastic performance from drummer Sheel Davé who keeps everything whilst the rest of the band go on their own way and it is fascinating song which takes a few listens to make sense; but it is well worth the effort and patience on this number.

05 – Too Late

A song about missing that opportunity and everything changing once you have changed your mind, the lyrics are draped over a slow and moody rock number.  It mixes R&B, dream pop and the sound of bands like Living Colour to the mix and 35 Yard Beat Experiment with the vocals of Fredua (Dua) Boakye sounding so dominate on this number that it is impossible to avoid them. 

06 – Save Yourself

With a little bit of a reggae theme thrown into some of the vocals, ‘Save Yourself’ is another number which requires a few listens to reveal itself and even then, it is still reveals more with each listen.  The band once again are not playing one style in this song and that style shall from now on be known as being constantly in flux.  I applaud the band here as they have crammed more in one song than some bands do in a carrier and truth be told, I think they have put better songs on the album.  It is still brilliant and does not fail to make me smile from beginning to end.

07 – Flames

With a song about an ending of sorts and giving comfort that things are going to be alright, the band launch into one of the best songs of the album; it is one of my favourite moments on this album, from the slow guitar playing, the bass focus, the sublime vocals and the powerful drumming that combines to give a moment about stepping forward and having to live through the moment, no matter how painful it is.

08 – WWYD

A song about the police brutality that is sadly a common news story in America, especially in the black community and it is shocking that a song like this still needs to be wrote; we are supposed to be in an enlightened again, instead we are in a backwards age where people are being repressed and giving power to monsters who would have us believe that we are right to be self-serving.  This song is a strong and powerful number, it does not mince its words and it leaves you in no doubt that they will not take this any longer.  It is a sad state the this had to be created, but it is handled with exquisite taste and decorum. 

09 – The Wire

We are back in protest territory here and it is thrown against the sound of dignified protest which is being appressed and kept down whilst other people look the other way.  Sounding like a mix between Flobots, Prince and with the attitude of freedom, I could gladly listen to this for hours on end.  It is a song that has purpose and it also sounds fantastic as well.  It is such a good tune that deserves to be played very, very loud and with no fear!

10 – My Song

With a sound that is out of this world, ‘My Song’ is a song about trying to better oneself after falling down once again and reaching for a possible last chance.  It is a soul that sings out through the music, a need for everything to work this time as the possibility of things not working is too much to comprehend.  It is a drama song, working the band in many different directions and the Funk Rock/R&B from the band is spot on once again.

11 – Faceless

A song about being stripped of your identity, it is one of the heavier songs on this record and it drops the bass lower than it should legally be able to go at times.  It is heavy song with some fantastic moments, the bass work of Graham Masser is the driving force of the album and it is spectacular to say the least.  A song that takes a while to sink in, but once it does then it is all good!

12 – Push (Featuring SPNDA)

Featuring a guest appearance from Boston rapper SPNDA, the album ends with 'Push' and this about making sure that you keep on moving, keep on pushing through any barrier and to make sure the pain does not stop you.  It is such a good song, one that changes in the middle into a dream pop trance that sounds like a chill out song to bring you adrenaline down after such a rollercoaster of an album.

I must own this album, it is a brilliant record from the stunning image on the cover to the music that does not stay still for a moment; I find this album to be one of the best records to come from over the waves in 2016.  Combining Rock, Metal, R&B, Pop, Funk, Alternative and his royal badass, this album has everything going for it and it is a worth album for the end of the year.  I would recommend you all get a copy as soon as possible, you will not regret it as it is one of the best albums of the latter half of 2016. Cover Roulette has come up with a winner once again, excuse me whilst I discover the back catalogue of this band.

9 out of ten – Almost perfect, almost

Top track – Flames

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