Tuesday 24 June 2014

Persian Rabbit - Persian Rabbit

Album review by KevW for www.soundsxp.com

OK then interesting genre fans, what do you make of "dark hippy style"? It probably sounds as though it was intended to describe The Doors' more harrowing take on what you might find when you "break on through to the other side", but French band Persian Rabbit share little in common with L.A.'s dark lords. How about "chamber post-rock"? That's what the press release goes for, and to be honest it's far more befitting of the music made by this quintet, all of whom arrived in this collective from other bands, perhaps making this the world's first chamber post-punk supergroup. It's definitely an intense one, and there is a sense of the post-apocalyptic about the desperate and often harrowing noise they create.

The eight tracks on this eponymous album vary in length from around the three-minute mark on the textured but squalling 'Made Of Ice', which recalls the military-style gloom and layered arrangements of Hope Of The States, to over eight minutes on 'Ginger', a song that's more in line with post-rock and at times comes on like a distant, lost Radiohead track; oddly it touches on both industrial and folk music, but it does take you on something of a journey. 'Before The Crowd Knows' also brings to mind HOTS and again is constructed from many different parts, perhaps summarising just what it is that Persian Rabbit are all about. At times, these tunes are more impressive than lovable, but you get the impression that that's kind of the point: Persian Rabbit aren't looking for cosy, universal hits. 'Inside Hole' teeters on the brink of becoming a trip-hop track, and you do get the faintest echo of Portishead.

It's been a long time since combining the likes of cello, harmonium and double bass with regular rock instruments has been considered to be stepping outside the box, yet this approach gives an extra dimension to 'The Sound From Beyond', perhaps one of the more instant tracks here (although don't go expecting a big, memorable chorus or anything), and 'This Whole Machine' may be a little more palatable to people with more conventional tastes. 'Persian Rabbit' is likely to be a record that will appeal to those who prefer to properly listen and digest the music that's on offer; there's a lot going on with these songs and common structures aren't adhered to. At the same time, we're not looking at dull virtuosity that will only attract the attention of chin-stroking musos. This is a complex but very good album, and while it may not be the easiest of listens, ultimately it is a rewarding one.

Persian Rabbit's website

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