Album Review: White Rabbits – It’s Frightening (TBD)


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MP3: White Rabbits – Percussion Gun from the forthcoming LP It’s Frightening

White Rabbits have always been a concussion ensemble of vicious rhythms and unconventional minor compositions. With It’s Frightening (release May 19 2009), they take things in a different direction. Overall, It’s Frightening is not as danceable as their freshman effort, but has more intricate compositions and lush textures as well as a consistency that Fort Nightly (2007) lacked.

Their sophomore effort is a departure from Fort Nightly, which relied more on hooks, momentum and dynamics to carry the album. Fans of their debut may be disappointed by this followup, which focuses more on composition, texture, and interesting arrangements. The most engaging songs from Fort Nightly such as “Kid on my Shoulders,” “Navy Wives,”and “While we go Dancing” were carried by Stephen Patterson’s powerful vocals and It’s Frightening marks a significant shift toward featuring his vocal influence.

The opening track, “Percussion Gun,” seems to act as a segue to the new material, calling back to Fort Nightly. “Company I Keep” is a nice down-tempo tune that breaks the album up and keeps it from getting frantic following the hysterical “The Lioness.” The standout track may be “Midnight and I,” featuring double-tracked baritone vocals, spacious guitar phrasing – and was that a creaking garden gate or cymbals? I’m hearing things again…

Few bands I’ve seen in recent years have as impressive a live experience as White Rabbits. Before putting on their latest studio effort, I prepared myself for a minor disappointment. How could any recording capture the energy that is so essential to this act? The band has really come into its own with the use of texture, reverb, and space to highlight the (frightening?) mood they are trying to convey. I’m not privy to the recording engineer’s notebook, but portions of the album sound almost binaural. Better than standing in the crowd is feeling like you’re sitting on the stage. If you haven’t heard this album through a nice pair of ear goggles, then you haven’t really heard it at all.

It remains to be seen whether White Rabbits will pause in this vein until it’s cashed, or continue to develop their sound into something far more strange and compelling. Perhaps more evolutionary than revolutionary, It’s Frightening reflects increased musical maturity at the expense of raw intensity, so if you’re looking for a re-hash of Fort Nightly, you won’t find it in this album. What you will find is a solid followup and perhaps a hint of things to come.

Editor’s Note: White Rabbits’ Steve Patterson also happened to be Aural States’ first interview.

Label: TBD Records

Release Date: May 19 2009

Track List:

  1. “Percussion Gun”
  2. “Rudie Fails”
  3. “They Done Wrong / We Done Wrong”
  4. “Lionesse”
  5. “Company I Keep”
  6. “The Salesman (Tramp Life)”
  7. “Midnight and I”
  8. “Right Where They Left”
  9. “The Lady Vanishes”
  10. “Leave It at the Door”

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3 Responses to “Album Review: White Rabbits – It’s Frightening (TBD)”

  1. jaykurosawa24 says:

    The name of their debut album was ‘Fort Nightly’. That’s a pretty simple error.

  2. Greg Szeto says:

    Thanks for the catch.

  3. [...] Aural States: “‘It’s Frightening’ is not as danceable as their freshman effort, but has more intricate compositions and lush textures as well as a consistency that Fort Nightly (2007) lacked.” [...]

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