Review: White Rabbits' 'Milk Famous'
Published: Saturday, April 14, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
There have been times when I’ve wondered why certain bands have not been recognized, or at least blown up within what is termed the “indiesphere.” Indie rock band White Rabbits is one of them.
The six-piece Brooklyn-based band from the college town of Columbia, Missouri, is currently on tour to promote their album “Milk Famous” and performed at the Metro Sunday. April 8. Having performed at this year’s South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, and newly announced as an act on this year’s Lollapalooza lineup, White Rabbits is a band that has been on the music radar and is on the verge of breaking out.
From the time their tribal drum-heavy song “Percussion Gun” (from 2009 sophomore album “It’s Frightening”) debuted on music blogs a few years ago, one could sense the potential the band had to stand out in the crowd.
Unlike many indie bands of today who utilize the usual soft rock guitar melodies and lyrical themes of heartbreak, White Rabbits’ experimental take on the songwriting process proves to be one more intricate than most new-on-the-scene artists.
But the word “intricate” does not imply anything along the lines of complicated or indecipherable. In fact, White Rabbits, in some ways, keeps it simple. Lines of lyrics repeating multiple times throughout a song. Lyrical themes of deteriorating relationships and emotions born out of stream-of-consciousness. Emphasis on highlighting the distinct sound each instrument makes without pushing it, such as with songs sung over a prominent piano, guitar and/or drum rhythm in the background.
Interestingly enough, it is this kind of simplicity that gives way to intricacy. How so? Throw in all of the elements they incorporate into their songs and a smooth music-making machine is born.
It’s not easy to grasp how the band is essentially a machine until one witnesses a live performance. Although White Rabbits has not even been in existence for a decade (they formed in 2004 with their debut album “Fort Nightly” released in 2007), the young band has gained a reputation for their energetic live performances and consistent touring career. From the upbeat “While We Go Dancing” to the toned-down “I Had It Coming,” White Rabbits never lose focus on the experience they attempt to create.
Upon watching them perform, the crowd is awed by how cohesive the band is with their impressive synchronization and the atmosphere created by their music. On albums, there is a haunting quality to their music as their instrumentation accompanied by lead singer Stephen Patterson’s falsetto voice infiltrates and pulsates through one’s mind. It only gets better live as the theatrics are accentuated by the band members working together and giving out the energy needed to put on a show that people will remember.
Being opening acts for bands such as Muse, The Walkmen, Interpol and Spoon, as well as performing at well-known festivals such as Coachella, Austin City Limits, Voodoo Music Experience and SXSW, there must be good reasons why they are chosen to take on the duty of showcasing their art in concerts and festivals with high expectations.
The effort the band puts into their music and live performances is rare among the crowd of other new bands aiming to be the next “buzzband.” While the band has not taken the route of going viral (quite yet at least), it is only a matter of time until people catch onto the speed of White Rabbits.