Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
We are treated to a frightful hunt on the newest White Rabbits song to pop out of its hole and find the light of day. It's called "Foxhunting" and the boys from Brooklyn-by-way-of-Missouri are again at their best in conveying something out there on the prowl, a theme that tends to permeate through the bulk of the band's stellar sophomore long-player, "It's Frightening," a record that shows this young band cooking up moods and atmospheres of dynamic facility and propulsive emotion, like they're setting us down at the exciting end of a long fuse that bends around the corner and might or might not be lit and snaking quickly our way for a grand finale. It all feels as if we're in the middle of some sinister set-up, as if we've gotten ourselves into some real pickle that can't be sweet-talked out of. It's as if the rat race now has a full-on embodiment, portrayed here as a place that whispers into our ears, coolly and calmly and all of the deviled and hideous things that it stands for - complacency, accelerated aging, depression, marriage without love, seeking some phony American dream - come to our ears sounding like cakes and candies, pies and goodies. We're seduced by all of the dark hands grabbing out from the shadows of White Rabbits songs, all of the spoiled hands on the clocks and by the soft, smoldering way that singers Gregory Roberts and Stephen Patterson take with their song - all of which suggest that we all just keep our eyes skinned, for we should be ready for anything at any time. On "Foxhunting," the two trade off verses and during this chase scene, through the garden and the branches, we're left panting, our heart rates escalating into unfriendly palpitations, where we're on edge and full of suspense. Patterson sings, "The sky's as dark as the ocean and all the hounds are waiting there for me," his voice dipping for the final two words of the lyric, as if he's come out of the clearing and seen the gang of rabid dogs patient and ready to pounce. Their fangs are bare and they're foaming at the sides of their gums, the white fervor dripping down to the ground like the cream of an over-filled latte. It's a song that's supposed to make you feel as if you're going out of your mind as they sing to this paranoia later in the song, "But I'm afraid you're wrong/You're still in your front lawn," as if there's really no getting away from any of the most frightening things that are standing over us. We're just left there for the reaction, to see which one - the fight or the flight response - kicks in and there's fur flying or dust clouds reaching up from the ground as if running away will ever truly work for us. The hounds will always be faster. They will always be nastier and keener. They sing on the album, about some anonymous fear, or group of fears, "They are armed to the teeth," and it seems as if there's always another thing to be worried about on "It's Frightening," a more calculated and spooky record than the band's debut, "Fort Nightly." It's takes us into so many different shadows, while still maintaining an exuberance that the six members have already perfected over the years, ripping songs open with a playfulness and passion that is never contrived. "It's Frightening" is the band listening to the growling demons that mud up the carpets of their minds, keep them insomniacs sometimes and give them more than enough reasons to feel as if someone or something was indeed in pursuit. The hunt is theirs and it's unnerving.
White Rabbits Official Site
White Rabbits' Debut Daytrotter Session