Sunday 14 September 2014

Rabbits - Untoward (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 12/8/2014
Label: Lamb Unlimited

‘Untoward’ DD/LP track listing:

1). Ever Mind (03:04)
2). Pack up your Shit (03:23)
3). So Fake It’s Real (02:19)
4). Reek and you shall find (06:05)
5). An Odd Coloration (02:57)
6). Like you a lot (10:33)


Amidst a slew of EPs, splits and other independent releases the band has produced since their 2003 inception, RABBITS’s debut LP, Lower Forms, was released via Relapse in 2011, which was followed only a year later with their Bites Rites LP via Good To Die Records. The band has also since revived Portland DIY label Eolian Empire, their cohorts who released multiple early RABBITS releases, and have since inundated the planet with a variety of potent releases from only Portland-based acts, including Prizehog, Towers, Diesto, Honduran, Dead, Drunk Dad and more. Amidst sporadic Western US touring in recent years, the band will forage throughout North America and Europe in support of Untoward.


It’s a cloudy hot day here in Ohio, not much going on, so why the hell not take some time to do a little record review.

Sometimes a band name represents the band in a more meaningful way or say some form of inside meaning within the band’s member, in which they present it as some form of secret “either you get it or you don’t” type of crap i.e. Slipknot being overly mysterious. But really who cares?

There is always the way too metal band name or the Tomorrow Is Yesterday’s Tuesday type of metal core poop…

Then we have Rabbits, whose name honestly kept me from them for the longest time.  I kinda unfairly had images of bikini clad Japanese girls playing surf rock. Rabbits are in no way associated with Sanrio, so it was a pleasant surprise to find out they are a fantastic noise rock/sludge outfit from Portland, OR.

‘Untoward’ is Rabbits most recent release a 6 song record that reeks of noise rock perfection.
Opening with the track ‘Ever Mind’ I was almost immediately reminded of The Melvins so I knew I was going to enjoy it. Not only does this opening track hit those King Buzzo type points, there are also some black metal type moments with blast beats permeating through the sludge wall.

Something I feel must be mentioned and is often skipped over with music of this type, is the brilliant use of the less is more concept.  Sometimes the riff itself is cave man enough to tap into that part of your brain that just wants to nod along with no real meaning. Not to say this release isn’t full of musicality & high level playing, there are some clear spots in timing and space where it is obvious years of playing are within the blood of the band.

‘Pack Up Your Shit’ is a dirty to the point doom wall who’s lyrics are both amusing and seemingly spot on for the tone of the record. “Just like us, we drink and fuck and cuss we piss and puke and shit, we are covered in spit..pack up your shit”  There are certainly some tongue in cheek elements to the band both in theme & feel.  This to me is a welcome change from the bands who take shit way too serious to the point you start to hate the band.

‘An Odd Coloration’ also draws from some of those Buzzo roots but touches on that Kowloon Walled City vibe too, leading to an up paced spurt or two that keeps the song in a constant pulling motion.

All in all Rabbits are onto something good and with huge balls!  Yes, I am late to the game with this band and they have clearly been at it for some time, destroying all along the way.  For me, it was great to find more of their material available and ample amounts digitally and vinyl!  What else can I say but I’ve been hooked. Rabbits are no Hello Kitty bullshit, they are the real sludgy deal.

Words by: Stephen T. Barton

You can secure your copy of ‘Untoward’ on DD here and vinyl here

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