It’s hard to pin down Bad Rabbits to one genre. Describing it in words just sounds a bit odd – R&B meets Funk meets Rock meets Soul. Yes odd isn’t it. But as bizarre as it may sound, it works. Better than just works, it makes you feel inexplicably good with its sultry punk tunes.
Bad Rabbits stand apart from the crowd. They effortlessly escape being put into a genre and completely disregard the boundaries. Throwing them out the window, they seem to use anything they want to that works. The band has recently released their debut LP American Love, co-produced with Oakland producer B. Lewis – four years after their 2009 EP Stick Up Kids. In those years, they have been working away in order to fine tune their sound, developing it without losing the eclectic spontaneous energy they create. They have also shared stages with the likes of Common, Wu-Tang Clan, Travis McCoy, John Legend and others in those four year. They’ve also gone on five national US tours since 2010/2011 including the renowned Vans Warped Tour and are about to embark on their six-week Summer tour in the US, which only makes it more tempting to go on a holiday to see them.
The multicultural five have backgrounds hailing from India, Liberia, Argentina, Ghana and Italy all united by making brilliant music. They describe their sound as “futuristic R&B and post-rock” but it so much more than that. Their distinct sound on American Love starts as they mean to go on. It welcomes you in slowly and then crashes down around you, and whether you’re in awe or curious, you’ll stay until the lights go out and the cymbal sizzles into disappointing silence. It’s hard to not be converted into a Bad Rabbits lover.
The first track “We Can Roll” was one of my favourites. First tracks are always an introduction, but this felt more like an initiation. With an ethereal sound leading to dramatic drums followed by lead singer Fredua Boakye’s wails, it builds into an explosion of Rock & Roll, before the album then moves into a more throwback Pop-esque tune with “Can’t Fool Me”. Everything about this album is full on, there is no escaping and it has been made to have fun.
“We Can Roll”:
This LP was the soundtrack to my bank holiday weekend and beyond. “Dirty” had me cracking up with laughter, which was no easy thing to hide whilst I still had the album on repeat at my day job. The crass and witty lyrics are hilarious and so catchy over an up-tempo beat, laced with a funky bassline, lush drum patterns and synth-heavy keyboard arrangements.
Essentially about love – young love – American Love is cool and intense, ending with the excellent “Royal Flush” and rightfully so. The last track is angrier, developing its pace to build on that feeling. This is a song you could sing (or shout) at an ex. When everything else drops away leaving just the drums with vocals to kick in, it easily captures that strange relief that comes when you’re no longer blinded with love. And just like that American Love spits you back out.
Despite it being a high-intensity Funk all over kind of album, I could have done with hearing something slower and bit more R&B, to really listen to that slick voice. I’d be glad if Bad Rabbits break in future projects with a more sensual sexy sound. Without losing the punk of course and I have every faith that they can rise to the challenge.
American Love is Party music that you can vibe to without the need to shake anything too hard – unless you want to, that is. Dance to it, have it on in the bedroom, take a drive in the sunshine with the top down, or let it wash over you and take control of your limbs. It’s genre-busting, fast-paced, feel-good music sprinkled with impressive vocals. I’m glad that this boundary blending collection all the way from Boston has come in time to kick start my Summer.
Purchase: Bad Rabbits – American Love (iTunes)