Review Summary: Though it's not often that bands seem to have stumbled on a perfect formula, let alone relatively unknown bands, Rabbit Junk struck gold with REframe.
Rabbit Junk is the project of JP Anderson, a man who happens to be rather prolific in his musical outings; from appearing as a guest vocalist with industrial label mate Cyanotic
, helping form the digital hardcore group The Shizit
, to recently starting the folk metal-esque Wolves Under Sail
Anderson is a busy man. Though The Shizit were formed first, in 1999, Rabbit Junk is Anderson's personal brainchild and the group that many fans associate him with. While the groups self titled debut album had many fun moments it often ventured into far too many genre territories at once and still felt like a band searching for their own sound, which in turn really affected the flow and overall experience of the album. With REframe
the band found and solidified its sound, creating an album that previous releases have yet to top.
Though many may not know it, Anderson and his vocal partner Sum Grrl are in fact married, and that makes the achievements of REframe
far more noteworthy. Anderson has a wide vocal range, album opener “Demons” see's the man cover everything from a metal worthy scream to an almost flowing rap-esque verse. Running counterpoint to this variety is Sum Grrl, whose spoken word/sing-song sections bring to mind a tough street smart babe with attitude while her screams recall the cover art of Velvet Acid Christ's latest album. This duality is quite formidable and instantly recognizable, and though sad that it's something the band has yet to revisit on their later albums the content found in REframe
more than makes up for it.
There are so many recognizable elements found on REframe
that it becomes hard to think of them all, let alone mention them; the unique vocal tinge Sum Grrl has on “In Your Head No One Can Hear You Scream,” the very metal drum roll intro on “Beating Track” combined with Anderson's “la-la-la's,” the instantly iconic instrumental opening of “The Big Push”... there's a lot to take in here. Lyrically the album flows from confronting ones own personal demons and using alcohol to ignore ones problems to the need of those in power to keep placing benign enemies in front of the masses. Not only does this add to REframe
's worth, it also adds a more critical side to a band that one could be perfectly happy just headbanging to.
Speaking of headbanging, many of the tracks find themselves in metal/digital hardcore territory. Notable is the anthemic “Crutch” with it's fast paced vocal delivery and message of life's seemingly hopeless cycle. Reminiscent of many listeners teenage years it weaves a tale of angsty complaining combined with the reliance on alcohol to “free” ones self from troubles that would be better off confronted rather than ignored. Though the chorus's repentant use of spelling might get on some audience members nerves others will recall The Shizit's extremely fun “Young Broke Pissed,” though “Crutch” was of course written far earlier. “The Big Push” is another example of this harder sound, with guitars that almost
convey the crunch found in some digital hardcore releases, though the track has far more atmosphere than the average Atari Teenage Riot song. Following its war torn lyrics comes a personal favorite in the form of the relationship centric wonder “To All A Goodnight;” suffice to say it's something that just needs to be heard.
Rabbit Junk are decidedly a unique band. Anderson has called his groups style “Hardclash” but really it's far more simple to shrug and just admit that this sound is just, well, Rabbit Junk. From the dueling/duet vocals that are often lyrically poignant to the faced paced guitars and the pounding drum lines REframe
is something that begs to be experienced. Featuring some of the most memorable lines in the groups history it also stands strong as many fans personal favorite, as Sum Grrl's part in later releases was no where near as prevalent or enjoyable. Though it's not often that bands seem to have stumbled on a perfect formula, let alone relatively unknown bands, Rabbit Junk struck gold with REframe