Jun 30, 2009 Issue #26 Spring 2009 - Bat For Lashes
White Rabbits not only avoid the sophomore slump, they build on the success of their debut, Fort Nightly. With Spoon's Britt Daniel at the helm, White Rabbits tighten the reins on their percussive sound over the course of ten lean and muscular tracks.
A lot can be achieved in a three-to-four minute song, and White Rabbits have mastered packing a tremendous amount of material in such finely constructed gems as "Right Where They Left You" and "Company I Keep," which grows and grows, blossoming in the final minute with guitars soaring and diving like swallows around the always precise rhythm section. Dual drummers Matthew Clark and Jamie Levinson give White Rabbits their punch, whether it's the machine-gun fire of the aptly titled "Percussion Gun" or the drunken lurch of "The Lady Vanishes."
Though not as dance-happy and relentless as Fort Nightly, It's Frightening shows a maturing and improving band. In fact, it's not until the groove of "Right Where They Left" late in the album that White Rabbits seem to be repeating anything they'd done already on Fort Nightly. The comparisons to The Walkmen and The Strokes, which seem to be founded on NYC home bases, bar piano, and Stephen Patterson's vocal affect, will start to fade as White Rabbits continue to establish their own identity. Patterson channels Daniel on the standout "They Done Wrong/We Done Wrong." The excellent "Company I Keep," with its chiming guitars and cannon fire drumming, finds Patterson wondering aloud, "Someone explain to me, how it is you sleep."
Daniel brings a measure of control to the proceedings, while still allowing the band to seem spontaneous, such as when Patterson hisses the last "s" when he says, "While you're out taking aim, and taking orders." It sounds like an indictment, and is one of the many small touches that litter this near-perfect second album. (www.whiterabbitsmusic.com)
Author rating: 8/10
Average reader rating: 8/10